This blog post is from my editorial in the spring issue of The Spin. It was not the editorial I was planning on writing, but as most of you know all too well, life doesn’t always go to plan. Nobody knew this better than former SCI BC Peer Coordinator Brad Jacobsen, and few have done more to help people adjust, adapt, and thrive after their life took a very unexpected turn.
On February 17, the world lost Brad. For those of you who knew Brad, you will, I’m sure, be reflecting on the influence he has had and continues to have on your lives. The heartfelt tributes and reflections from so many of you on Facebook and elsewhere are testaments to just how much he meant to you.
There aren’t enough words in this editorial to capture all of who he was and what he has given to the world. But for those of you who did not know Brad, I will try and provide a glimpse into his legacy with SCI BC. Brad embraced his life as a quadriplegic, which he would often describe as an amazing reality that helped him realize in himself a strength he didn’t know existed, and that set him on a unique path to enlightenment. He was a deeply caring, compassionate, spiritual, philosophical, contemplative, and honest soul who had a lasting, transformational impact on all who knew him—peers, clinicians, researchers, colleagues, friends and family alike.
His incredible charisma and motivation to help others see the potential they had within them helped make him such a great mentor and teacher. He inherently knew the power and magic of peer support, and in 2001, he, along with Stephanie Cadieux and others, successfully fought to bring SCI BC’s Peer Program to life.
For over 15 years he was a fixture of the Peer Program, and a key presence at GF Strong. The program we run today is a reflection of his vision for it, and a reflection of who he was. There are so many ways and words to describe Brad and the impact he had on our community, but one that many have used is light. He brought light to the world. He brought light to people in their darkest times. He brought light to the end of very dark tunnels.
Brad saw the good and beauty in everyone, and had the gift of helping people to see the good and beauty within themselves. He has left us at way too young an age, but he has left an incredible legacy for the organization and for all who knew him.
In time, we will find ways to celebrate his life and the light he brought to our organization and those we serve. We will be posting tributes on our website and social media channels, and will honour him more fully in this magazine, which he named. When we can all gather together again, there will most certainly be a party in his honour.
For now, we will mourn the loss of our good friend and colleague while looking forward to the brighter days he would tell us were ahead.
Thank you Brad and know that you are missed, my friend.