(ROCKWALL, TX — March 4, 2019) Through the most difficult adversity he and his family have ever faced, local resident and business owner Jason Blackford found a big blessing in the JER Chilton YMCA at Rockwall.
A couple years ago, while Jason and his wife Jacquelyn were traveling home from Kansas after spending the weekend with family, Jacquelyn began experiencing stomach pain so severe, they had to make an emergency stop at an ER in Durant, Oklahoma. She was transported by ambulance to Flower Mound, Texas the next morning for her surgery, but on the ride over her bowels burst. By the time she arrived at the hospital, she had severe sepsis in her entire stomach cavity. The following week she underwent three surgeries and suffered some spinal damage during one of the operations, which left her paralyzed from the neck down.
When insurance could no longer pay for her hospital stay, Jason brought her home.
“Nursing was only approved for four days a week, so that left two days a week that me and my mother-in-law had to basically be her nurses full time, having to get trained on how to work her ventilator and things of that nature,” Jason said. “There were several times when her vitals would drop or there was some problem with the ventilator, and we had to call 911. It’s just been a crazy journey.”
Having to resign from his job to take care of his ailing wife, and with his little daughter Zoey having difficulties coping with her mom’s hospitalization, Jason sought counseling to help him through the hardship. His counselor recommended regular exercise to help relieve his stress, but at the time, he couldn’t afford a gym membership. Jacquelyn’s mother suggested he contact the JER Chilton YMCA. After hearing of his family’s hardship and Jacquelyn’s tragic hospitalization, the Rockwall YMCA awarded Jason a scholarship to help him afford a membership.
Jason said the scholarship meant the world to him and Zoey, who participates in the Rockwall Y’s youth soccer program. And with the Rockwall Y’s amazing childcare program, he’s able to enjoy a nice workout while his daughter has fun, too.
“Having a place to come where she can participate in lots of activities and take her mind off her mom’s hospitalization is just incredible,” Jason said. “It makes me tremendously happy to see her happy. And when I’m at her soccer games, I’ll take videos so I can come home and show her mom. That makes Jacquelyn really happy, too, to see Zoey having fun.”
The Rockwall Y has certainly had a positive impact on Jason’s life, and in more ways than one.
Four years ago, Jason had grown a beard for a Halloween costume but found it extremely itchy. After some research, he began making his own beard oils and balms to help relieve the itch. Eventually, he started his own business called Rockwall Beard Company selling his homemade beard care products.
At the Rockwall Y, he met Jeanna’ Mead, owner of Rockwall Soul & Body Massage, and learned that she had been trying to make her own oils and balms as well, but found it too time consuming. Having learned of his wife’s hospitalization, Mead agreed to start offering Jason’s products for sale in her studio. You can also find Rockwall Beard Company’s oils and balms at Holt Ranch and Feed in Fate.
“A lot of people will use shampoo to wash their beard, which has chemicals in it that strip out the natural beard oils. That’s when you get that itchy, wiry feeling. We offer all-natural beard wash to keep your beard extra soft and dandruff free, as well as oils and balms which are basically like a conditioner for your beard. We also make aftershave for those who don’t have a beard.”
Check out all of Jason’s premium grade homemade beard oils, balms, butters and care kits online at rockwallbeardcompany.com.
By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News. Courtesy photo.
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