‘He’s done a lot of good since he passed’
How do you make sense of a life cut short?
Josh Sears was a six-foot-three, blonde, blue-eyed teen who loved surfing, snowboarding, basketball and volleyball. He liked building things with his hands and he loved being outdoors. His friends knew him as a peacemaker; his friends’ parents knew their children would be OK if Josh was part of an outing.
“He was an ‘everybody loved him’ kind of a kid,” said his sister Kelli Jacobson.
Kelli Jacobson poses with Josh Sears’ high-school photo and a photo of Josh kidding around with his younger brother, Dan.
And then he was gone.
Josh, who was one of six children born to John and the late Joyce Sears, died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 17 on Dec. 27, 1991. He was a senior at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School class of 1992.
A few weeks later, the Masonic Howard Lodge in South Yarmouth sponsored a blood drive in Josh’s memory.
“I think we got something like 143 pints,” said John Sears, Josh’s father. “It was one of the largest blood drives that had happened in a number of years”
The blood drive later moved to December, and the 28th Annual Joshua Sears Memorial Blood Drive was held from noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, at the Yarmouth Masonic Lodge, 20 Davis Road, South Yarmouth.
“He used a lot of platelets while he was in the hospital,” said John Sears. “It was kind of the impetus for us to try to replace that and it kept on going.”
Jacobson doesn’t know the exact number but said the drive has easily collected more than 1,000 pints over the years, probably closer to 2,000.
“It’s a great way to keep his memory going, to have a good thing come out of such a sad thing,” she said. “So many people have been helped by those donations. He’s done a lot of good since he passed.”
Jacobson volunteers at the drive, and her father is always there to greet people and shake their hands and tell the story of Josh.
“We see some of the same people who donated all those years ago, including some classmates of Josh,” said John. “It’s bittersweet, but it’s a time to hold Josh in our hands again.”
Josh is also commemorated by a scholarship given each year to a student at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, and a Little League field in Yarmouth was named after him.
A Big Heart
“He was one of those kids who befriended everybody,” said Jacobson, “He would look out for the underdogs and the kids who weren’t popular and take them under his wing. That’s what my dad looks for, when giving the scholarship, the same kind of kid.”
The Yarmouth Little League gives a Tenth Player award each year in Josh’s memory. Chosen by the coaches, the award goes to a team player who has performed above and beyond expectations.
When Josh was a student at D-Y, he was cast as the Tin Man in a production of “The Wizard of Oz.”
“The Tin Man was looking for a heart, but no one had a bigger heart than Josh,” said Jacobson, who works in the medical staff office at Cape Cod Hospital.
“He made his mother and his father and his brothers and sisters proud of him,” said John. “We all have pictures of him and still acknowledge his presence in our lives every day. If there was ever a person that someone would want for a son, you would pick Josh.”
To make an appointment to donate, call 508-86BLOOD or use the online registration form with your preferred time in the comment field.