Baseball fans celebrate Salem teen who died after battling bone - KPTV - FOX 12

Baseball fans celebrate Salem teen who died after battling bone cancer

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Volcanoes Stadium was filled with fans Wednesday night -- not there to watch a game – but to celebrate the life of one teen who dearly loved to play and was taken from it far too soon.

Jack Schumacher, 14, died last month after battling bone cancer.

His mom, Tammi Huber, said he lived to play.

“He always had a ball in his hand, or a glove, or a bat and he was all about the field and playing ball,” Huber said.

Jack was a star pitcher and a student at Salem’s Straub Middle School. At his celebration of life, coaches, friends and teammates recalled a spunky and spirited teen who was stubborn and talented.

His nickname was ‘Shoe,’ a play on his last name only made more perfect by the fact that he could never seem to keep the laces on his cleats tied.

Jack could make anyone laugh and liked to play jokes. He was a healthy, normal boy entering teen hood, until what was assumed to be a pesky strained or torn muscle turned into a devastating diagnosis last August.

“In the beginning of last baseball season, he started complaining of left pelvis pain,” Huber said.

It remained a mystery for weeks when physical therapy didn’t help. Then an MRI at OHSU revealed a 10 centimeter mass. A biopsy would confirm osteosarcoma.

Jack was just 13 when death came knocking. Chemotherapy, a surgery and more chemo couldn’t stop the disease and it spread to his spine and nothing more could be done.

“He really broke down, ‘I’m not supposed to die, what 14-year-old kid is supposed to die? I’m supposed to grow up,’ and he was very scared of that,” Huber said.

But every face in the stadium is a testament to Jack’s courage – his devotion to his teammates, his friends and family.

The funny, loud boy also had a heart of gold.

“He was an amazing kid, sweet, kind all of the above,” said family friend Michelle Mathenge.

Jack’s older sister, Rebekah Schumacher will keep playing softball in her brother’s honor.

“He was the coolest kid I’ve ever met, he was really sweet,” Rebekah said.

Jack was determined his final inning would be spent helping others.

He found the hospital where he spent so much time didn’t have enough Lego’s for sick children to play with, so he got to work.

“He wanted to kick that off with a Lego drive. Once he found out he was terminal, he was like, ‘I need to be a part of that process before I die,’” Huber recalled.

They’ve now collected hundreds of boxes for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, but even as Jack grew sicker, he wasn’t done.

He wanted to donate his organs. There are now two people who see the world through Jack’s eyes.

“I would love to look at that person some day and see my baby’s eyes,” Huber said.

And after Jack had done so much for others, he prepared for death with one pinky promise from his mother.

“I vow that he won’t be forgotten,” she said.

It’s been nearly three weeks since Jack died. Hundreds of people celebrated his life and the tears flowed as they remembered the funny stories and his impacts big and small.

Jack Schumacher is still a star, now with more fans than ever.

“Our hope changed after we found out he wasn’t going to make it,” Huber said. “Hope that his name would be carried on, that he would have this legacy and make a difference.”

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