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In Memoriam; Jeremy Carroll ’98

Reading Eagle/file photo

Editor’s Note: A profile on Jeremy Carroll ’98 was planned for this issue. Not knowing that he was in the hospital in July, we tried contacting him to set up an interview prior to learning about his death. We were saddened to hear about his death and felt it was appropriate to go ahead with our plans and run this profile.

People complain. We complain about our aches and pains, about our troubles, about our finances, sometimes privately, sometimes publicly. But, sometimes we are exposed to the struggles and challenges others face, and that helps us put our own difficulties into perspective. And, sometimes we’re inspired by how well a person deals with their challenges; a person who promotes an ideal through personal example, like Jeremy Carroll ’98.

Carroll died on August 15, 2007, at the age of 33. He suffered from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, an incurable, debilitating disease which progressively destroys the muscles, and eventually the heart and lungs. While debilitating, people who knew him agree that it never slowed him down or prevented him from being a productive, positive person with a college degree and a career as a journalist.

Al Cacicedo, Ph.D., chair and professor of English, taught him at Albright. “Jeremy’s writing was always clear, well conceived, always fully researched, expressed and written. The only limitations he had were the ones you could see. He never asked for special accommodations or requested extra time. Given the reality of his physical condition it was remarkable,” he says.

After graduating from Albright, Jeremy worked from home for the Reading Eagle, writing articles for the Lifestyle section. Kathy Folk was his supervisor. “I always found him inspiring. Jeremy’s work was very thorough, accurate and always on time. He was absolutely conscientious, always thinking about doing the best job. When he was in the hospital, he called me, concerned about his stories,” says Folk. “At the paper, we all miss him and his contributions, as a writer and as a person.”

Jeremy’s sister, Lori Carroll Israeli, says he always lived life to the fullest, without regard for his limitations. “Jeremy was never one to dwell on his disability. He was too busy for that. Instead of concentrating on what he couldn’t do, he focused himself entirely on everything that he could do.” His selflessness and commitment to others were also remarkable, she says.

“Jeremy was always such an advocate for his friends and loved ones. If something was bothering you, you could always lament to Jeremy. No matter how busy he was, he always had time to listen, to be understanding and to take up your cause or to help you laugh about your issue.”

Jeremy’s mother Anne says her son was always grateful that the technology was there that allowed him to work and play–he played goalie in street hockey and umpired baseball—despite his limitations. “He would say, ‘If you have a goal, go after it. It may not be the way everybody else does it, but you can put your whole heart and soul into it and do it well.’ His positive, can-do attitude, the way he always put other people first, and his willingness to help others will be his legacy,” she says.

Although Carroll succumbed to his illness in August after having been hospitalized since July, his inspiring story lives on. What’s most unique about him and the inspiration he espoused, is that he did so not by leading any crusades, writing books or giving speeches, but by living his life, putting his best face forward with determination, and always, without complaint.

– Julio Bermudez ’08

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