Healing Through Compassion

The Roanoke Times, April 6, 2002


SOME PEOPLE are destroyed by tragedy. Others are transformed. Greg and Fran Rooker suffered every parent's nightmare. Their 10-year-old-son, Jason, suffered a debilitating injury and died 16 months later.

Friends, doctors, their church and eventually a worldwide network offered support and prayer to help the family through months of hospital care and exhausting rehabilitaion. For Greg Rooker, once a hardnosed newspaper publisher in Southwest Virginia, and his wife the experience changed their lives.

After Jason's death the two decided to help other families desperate for information on brain injuries by creating the Jason Foundation.

Their energies and financial support helped start Brain Injury Services of SWVA to provide case workers and home services for brain-injured patients.

This month, efforts by the Rookers and others such as Sandy Willis, president of the Roanoke Valley's brain-injury group, will bring a statewide brain injury conference to Southwest Virginia.

Such efforts provide new levels of care and a community of support for families. Instead of speaking of a life lost, people who know Jason's story can now speak of lives transformed, thanks to the Rookers's tireless work.


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