Jason was a 2005 graduate of Lone Peak High School where he was an all-state safety and captain of the football and track teams. He passed on multiple scholarship offers to work towards his goal as a BYU Cougar as a preferred walk-on. He worked out with the team in the summer of 2005 and then left for Harrisburg Pennsylvania where he expected to serve the typical two-year LDS mission. But on August 4, 2006, just 10 months into his mission, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Leukemia. He returned to Salt Lake City and the Huntsman Cancer Hospital to receive cutting edge treatment.
Earlier this year it appeared as though Jason had beaten the odds and was well down the road to recovery. He met with BYU coaches. Jason reaffirmed his desire to be a Cougar and Coach Mendenhall confirmed the team's commitment to Jason. He was scheduled to join the team in the spring of 2009.
Shortly after those meetings the leukemia reoccurred in the form of tumors, first in the orbit of his eye and second in his heart. Both tumors were treated successfully with radiation. On August 1, 2007 Jason chose to undergo additional chemotherapy and radiation treatments in an effort to eliminate the leukemia from his tissue. If the treatment were successful Jason would stay on track for his 2009 return to the football field. But on September 19, 2007 Jason's fight against cancer ended quietly.
Jason's family and close friends have decided to form a charitable foundation in his honor. The foundation will have three ongoing purposes, to raise money for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, to fund a "Jason Long" football scholarship at BYU and to provide an annual character based award and scholarship at his high school.
"Jason had envisioned utilizing his circumstances to raise money for cancer research and facility development at the Huntsman Center," said his father Kevin Long. "We have realized that Jason has touched a number of lives in his 21 years. Words like legacy and legend are used frequently when people talk to us about Jason. We feel as though continuing his legacy in this manner can help fulfill his desire to give back to those who enriched his life."
Ongoing plans for the operation of the foundation are still formulating. It is anticipated that the organization will host an annual golf tournament and a charity high school 7on7 tournament. Those interested in getting involved in the foundation or making financial contributions can contact the family at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His mother Sheri Long wanted to deliver this message to Cougar Nation in general and specifically to Total Blue Sports.
"We have been blessed by your prayers this past year. Your heartfelt condolences and encouragements have been read by the family and cherished. We feel as though the thousands of prayers on Jason's behalf did not go unanswered. He had 8 months of relative good health and happiness as he became engaged to be married to his high school sweetheart (an Idaho State scholarshipped volleyball player), coached football for Lone Peak HS, visited grandparents and extended family in Oregon, body surfed in the Pacific, rafted down the Deschutes River, and got back into the gym working toward getting back into football shape. For the same reason's that made Jason an outstanding Cougar, our loving Heavenly Father needed him for a continued mission on the other side of the veil. Jason never turned down a challenge, no matter how difficult, and he never turned down a request for his help. We believe he accepted a more important assignment to serve.
As Talo has mentioned, Jason is always positive and always appreciative. We know he would want to be sure that Talo and the staff at Total Blue Sports and the hundreds of members who have sent their love and prayers would know of his and our gratitude. We are part of you and you are part of us."