Mike Jacobs, “Red Hair & Freckles,” has passed away

Don Barone

About the author

Don Barone

Don Barone

db has been in the reporting biz for over 30 years, won some Emmys and other awards, but is proudest of his four-decade marriage, his two kids and the fact he founded Tackle The Storm Foundation to help children.

Dateline:  Mourning

This was the call, that came last night, that put me into a fetal position.  I crawled into bed last night at 6pm…and could barely get out this morning.

In case you don’t remember, here’s the story I did with Mike Jacobs, last May, when I first met him at an Elite event in Georgia.  It’s called, “The Strength of Mike Jacobs,” and trust me when I say this, I need every bit of his strength to be able to write this update.

Here’s Mikey:  http://www.bassmaster.com/blog/strength-mike-jacobs

Yesterday, Mikey died.

“Red Hair & Freckles” is gone in body, but will never leave my soul.

Trust me dudes, this has been a rough month, first I end up in grave condition in the hospital, stay in the hospital 18 days and according to my doctors, almost not make it myself.

Then basically the day or so after I get out of the joint I hear the horrible news about my friends, Mark & Donna Menendez, that Donna’s Pancreatic Cancer has returned, has spread, and now Donna is in Stage 4,

and that news, and this story, suck out whatever wind I had left in my recovering lungs.  Here’s Mark & Donna’s story, see for yourself: 

http://www.bassmaster.com/blog/love-story-menendezs-fight-save-his-wife

but then came the call about young Mikey, and while not sending me over the edge, I can see the drop from here.

So I ask you for this consideration, normally I would write a story about Mike Jacobs, and how I feel, ‘cept is, truth is, all I want to do is hide.

Ain’t got the words.

You reach a point when you are all cried out, when your heart is just broken, when you have just had enough of bad things happening to good people, where the spark inside us all that gives us the ability to put the “KIND” in “MAN” just escapes us.

Escapes me.

Dudes…we are losing touch with the truly important things in life when front page news is a actor/celebrity who sticks a needle in his arm and shoots up heroin and dies, basically kills himself, YET, all over this country, all over this planet, mother’s are being taken from their children, children are being taken from their families, EVERYDAY, to a disease that is stalking us, feeding on us, killing us.

Cancer.

Maybe, if everyday, all the people who died of Cancer on that day, all their names, all their faces, all of it…leads the newscast, makes the front page…EVERYDAY…maybe finding a cure becomes the most important thing in all of our lives so we can reach out, comfort, and ultimately save the almost…

…1,500 PEOPLE WHO DIE A DAY FROM CANCER.

No offense celebs, but you go back on the comics page where you belong, the front page belongs to our neighbors who we are trying to save.

Bad time to have given up Margaritas.

So I have no words left for you, but I did have some words for Red Hair & Freckles.

Ever since I did the story with Mike Jacobs, Mike and I have kept in touch, through the good times, through the bad times.

Right before I went into the hospital I got an email, one of many, from Mikey, turns out it was the last email I would get from him…I asked him if someday I might be able to publish our conversations, and he said, “…sure if you think it would help other people.”

I think it will help other folks, I know it helped me.

Here’s the last email I got from Mikey:

Thank you db I appreciate that.. You always have a way with words that seems to comfort me in ways that I didn't think possible, like the situation I'm in now.

Honestly I never thought that it would come to this.  I never expected my doctor to walk in my room and tell me the surgery is off due to the cancer spreading to my lung after just the day before we were going over the procedure for the surgery.  I guess I'm still kind of in denial about that.  It hasn't sunk in.  It's tough man, it really is.  I went from feeling like there is a fairly good chance that I could pull through this thing and not have to worry about it for a few years if not longer, to feeling like the most helpless person on the planet.  I just don't understand why it has to be me?  I never would wish this upon anyone... That's not what I mean but I just don't understand... Me... Me I'm 21 years old and still have a whole life ahead of me. 

I have all these people that care so much about me and it just breaks my heart that I am going to break their hearts by leaving them behind like this and I can't do anything about it.  I know it's not sounding like I have a very good attitude about it but I just have a million things running through my mind right now and I don't know what to think! 

But db, thank you once again for all the kind words you have said about me in your articles and just those instances where you're checking up on me.  You always had the right answers and knew what to say when I was feeling down.

Love,

Mikey

It flat out broke my heart, I knew what this email was about, and here is the last email I ever sent to Mikey…I wrote this with tears dripping into the keyboard…what do you possibly say to a young man…a friend…someone who became almost family.

You say what you hope.

You say what you wish for.

You say what you believe.

Here, is the email I sent back…my last conversation with Mikey:

Dude,

I believe miracles happen, believe miracles happen everyday and are all around us, if we stood back and reflected, we would see them, but we rush through life so fast we are blinded to the miracles.

Our ability to love one another, is a miracle, of all the living things on this planet, we are the only ones that love.  That's a miracle.

Of all the living things on this planet we are the only things that put helping others above helping ourselves.  A miracle.

Of all the people alive on this planet, billions, only a few, a very small few, have the ability to change lives, and those who do change lives are miracles.

You dude, are a miracle.

You have the Mikey touch, red hair and freckles, but through your words you have touched people all over this planet, and you have made them stop and think, maybe pray, but for sure in some small way you have been an influence in their lives.

Our bodies don't live forever, but the miracle that is our soul does, and your miracle will live forever in the souls of all those you have touched.

As always, I'm here for you, but rest assured, that no matter what happens, the miracle that is red hair and freckles, will be eternal.

Take peace in that my friend,

db

RIP, Red Hair & Freckles, miss you, love you…thanks for the miracle, that was you.

db

“And in the end

The love you take

Is equal to the love you make.”

The Beatles

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