© 2017 Faith Believe Hope
Jasen Adam Strand was diagnosed with Duchene’s Muscular Dystrophy at the age of six, it was at this point he committed to himself that he would enjoy life to its fullest.
He signed up to play little league baseball with the Challenger Division, which is where kids with any type of disability from blind to wheelchair get to play ball. He had a power wheelchair and in no time he had learned to do wheelies and donuts around the neighborhood. Most of the grass in the backyard was dug up and a WMX (wheelchair motocross) track was built with jumps and banked turns just like the motorcycle tracks. Soon after, Jasen’s friends would come over and borrow his wheelchair to compete on this track. From this, Jasen learned there was nothing that could stop him from accomplishing any goal he set out to conquer.
Jasen gave rides on his wheelchair to nieces, nephews and cats. He smiled and laughed everyday; he was always thinking of the care of others and how he could help. Jasen enjoyed going to the beach, Vegas, monster truck shows, concerts, NASCAR and competing with his RC car. When he was thirteen his beloved service dog, Cora, found him. It was love at first sight. Cora went everywhere with Jasen, she even attended classes with him! Cora passed away due to cancer at the age of twelve.
Jasen loved learning. While in sixth grade he was awarded the Presidential Award from Bill Clinton. He assisted with tutoring; he had the patience, knowledge and care of those he would teach. As a result of his academic accomplishments in high school Jasen was awarded two Golden State Exam Scholarships.
Because of his love of building things, Jasen enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona after graduating high school. He chose mechanical engineering as his major. As a result of the DMD he had no use of his arms or legs and required a ventilator for breathing. However, that did not stop him from his thirst of knowledge. His mom would take him to his classes and take notes for him.
Cal Poly Pomona became a huge part of Jasen and his family’s lives. The campus became a home away from home. His professors have said that having Jasen in their classes gave them a refreshing outlook on their careers and reminded them why they teach. One professor who taught manufacturing engineering had Jasen and another student in a wheelchair. In order to protect their legs from burning he built special tables and came up with special protection. Due to Professor Dixon Davis determination that ALL of his students got the same chances everyone else got, he received several accolades and was quoted as saying “If we want our students to think outside the box, we as professors should be outside the box ourselves, showing them the way to the exits!”
Tragically, Jasen passed away on June 21, 2010 due to Tracheo-Arterial Fistula, a complication of the trach he depended on for breathing. Because of the vehement support of the Disability Resource Center and the encouragement of his professors, it was only fitting to create a scholarship in Jasen’s honor to make it possible for more students with disabilities, who also share Jasen’s enthusiasm for learning, to experience what Cal Poly Pomona has to offer.
Everyone that met Jasen admired his courage, strength in life and his belief to never give up and do it all. He was a truly a role model, mentor and inspiration to all who met him.