PORTLAND, Ore. - Aaron Jamison of Springfield knows how he will die and he’s pretty sure when it will happen.
The cancer in his colon that has attacked his body will eventually shut down his liver. He will grow increasingly tired, fade into a coma and then pass away.
But he’s beaten the odds before.
Back in April doctors gave him three months to live but nearly eight months later he’s proven he’s a fighter. Now, however, he may become a victim of the system. At the end of this month his COBRA coverage will expire, and without insurance he’ll no longer be able to afford the treatments and medications that give him a fighting chance.
He expects to be dead by February.
“I told my wife (Kristin) when we first got married that this was going to be an adventure,” he said during a TV interview in Portland Wednesday. “I didn’t promise her a long adventure, but I promised her an adventure. I think we’ve had one.”
Positive, humor, joy – these are the things this man from Springfield strives for. And selflessness. Back in April he was concerned he was going to leave his wife with huge bills, so he came up with the idea to sponsor his cremation by placing ads on his urn.
Sixteen companies bought ad space, including PETA.
He’s also had bracelets made inscribed with his motto: “Cancer sucks, life is good, choose joy.”
He sells them on his website to help pay the medical bills but mostly he passes them out to people he’s met at the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center.
He says he can see that many of the other patients often choose despair and want to be left alone.
“I hand (the bracelet) to them with just the ‘cancer sucks’ side up and they grab it,” he says. “And then maybe they’d come talk to me later about the ‘choose joy’ part.”
Choosing joy is what he hopes to inspire people to do.
“If two people out there see what I went through and the choices I’ve made, and it helps them somehow – however they do it … then it’s been worth it for me,” he says.
He says he’s applied to the Oregon Health Plan and the Oregon Health Insurance pool but will probably be denied because he’s currently covered.
But he’ll reapply at the first of the year in hopes of gaining the insurance he’ll need to continue his treatments and to give him just a little more time.