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‘BE BRAVE,’ JASON TOLD LOVED ONES

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Be brave.

If anything described Jason LeGrand Overman, it was those two words of advice that he passed along to loved ones he left behind.The 7-year-old boy lost his battle with cancer when he died peacefully at his home Tuesday, Oct. 24, 1989, about 11:40 p.m.

In 1988, Utahns rallied around Jason and contributed nearly $200,000 so he could have a bone-marrow transplant in an attempt to preserve his life.

After Jason's condition went out of remission two months ago, he became a counselor to those around him, said Keren Morton, the boy's aunt.

Once, he told his parents that he knew they would miss him, but he would be happy in heaven.

Jason told them to be brave.

Morton said Jason's fighting spirit carried him through the difficult transplant and gave him one year of quality time with his friends and family.

During the year, his cancer was out of remission and he took several trips to Lake Powell. This month, his family took him to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole, Wyo., and his father took him deer hunting.

One of his favorite things to do was to go to work with his father. He was an excellent athlete who enjoyed the outdoors. In the last few weeks, he spent time riding in his miniature jeep with his puppy, Skipper.

Morton said the family wishes again to thank those who gave their support, and they are grateful for the extra year the family received.

Jason, nicknamed "Tank," was born Aug. 5, 1982, in American Fork. He was the son of Joseph Jon Overman and Jane Fowlke Overman.

Jason suffered from a rare form of childhood cancer that affects the nervous system called neuroblastoma. The Overman's insurance policy would not cover the costs of a bone-marrow transplant, Jason's best chance for recovery, because the treatment was considered experimental.

The UCLA Medical Center needed at least $130,000 to just admit him. The cost of the procedure was $220,000, and there was an additional $100,000 in bills from Primary Children's Medical Center.

Friends and neighbors gathered around the young boy's family to raise funds. High school students donated money from senior class projects. Schools organized carnivals with dunking booths, petting farms and bake sales. Donation cans were placed in local convenience stores and restaurants.

A cement "pour-a-thon" ($25 for each yard of concrete poured on a certain day) raised $30,000, and inmates at the Utah State Prison raised nearly $1,000.

Citizens eventually brought in more than $190,000 for the procedure. He received the transplant from his sister Julie in August 1988. The boy struggled with the painful, dangerous process, but came through largely because of his fighting spirit, Morton said.

Funeral for Jason will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, in the Orem Park Stake Center, 195 W. 300 South. Friends may call Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Sundberg Olpin Mortuary, 495 S. State, Orem, or at the church one hour before the service. Burial will be in the Orem City Cemetery.

Jason leaves his family and also numerous friends behind, as people all over the state showed him kindness. He didn't have much to return except a smile, a thank-you and two profound words: "Be brave."