Dr. Ghosh recently said, “We don’t measure our lives by how many years we live, but by the impact we have on others.” He said these words to the parents of John (Jake) Dibel, when they came to thank us for our care. By Dr. Ghosh’s measure, Jake Dibel lived an abundant life, long in spirit and deep and wide in love.
We were privileged to care for Jake in his final months. He was finishing his sophomore year at the University of Iowa, where he’d received a full-ride scholarship and had plans to pursue a doctorate in pharmacology and plant-based science. He was fulfilling his promise, excelling with the same steady discipline he’d shown since childhood. And he was fighting something no twenty-year-old should have to face: several types of cancer and two debilitating strokes.
Through it all, Jake lived for a purpose beyond himself. He pushed himself to complete his classes, finishing with all A’s. He focused on his mom, dad and brothers, worrying about their well-being rather than his own. He comforted friends and classmates who came to visit, lightening their mood. Every time Jake came to The Ghosh Center, he inspired us and left us better than we’d been.
Jake transferred his care to us after being at a university-based cancer center. According to his mother, Jana, Jake had felt like a number there. She said, “We didn’t come here expecting a miracle cure. We came here because we needed people to see him as we saw him.”
We saw you, Jake. We saw you in your humanity and your humility. We saw you studying your lessons, laughing with your family, watching the birds. We saw you breathe in the peace of this place and infuse the air with your gentle grace.
Your legacy continues. Because you often had to wait for blood donations, you advocated for others to give blood. Because you received a stem cell transplant on your 19th birthday, your family is working to help others receive this precious gift. You donated your body to the University of Iowa Deeded Body Program so others could learn.
Your Celebration of Life service was attended by hundreds of people, who’ve been inspired by your selfless example of love. There was a large poster, thanking people for so many things. Things like:
And, finally, for being your friend. Which came so easily to all of us because of who you were.
Take the first step to saving someone’s life by registering as a bone marrow donor. Learn more at Be The Match ®.