Canadian Football League

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Former Canadian Football League Great Needs Your Letters Of Support

Tyrone Jones takes a downturn
Globe and Mail Update

April 3, 2008 at 2:59 PM EDT
The faxes and newspaper stories sent by friends from across the continent have been put on the walls of his hospital room in Folkston, Ga., but Tyrone Jones didn't see them Thursday afternoon.
He slept in his bed; the tumor in his brain spreading its toxic infection.
"He's on heavy morphine," said Darla Gerbrandt, the Winnipeg cancer survivor who befriended Jones during his last visit to the city where he played eight seasons with the CFL Blue Bombers. "I spoke to his sister and he's just resting. He's been non-responsive to them."
Ty Jones was a heaven-sent, hell-bent linebacker when he starred for Blue Bombers. He played a loud game full of tackles and taunts. He was nasty on the field and big-hearted off it; a fan favourite among Winnipeggers.

When he retired, he ended up coaching football at the U.S. college level until he began experiencing a strange sensation in his nose. One day he blew his nose so hard a tooth came out of it. Then his left eye started protruding from its socket. The tumor in his brain was growing.
He was told he had a two per cent chance of surviving the surgery needed to remove it. He opted for radiation and chemotherapy. The radiation treatments burned a hole the size of a quarter into the roof of his mouth.
Still, Jones refused to go away quietly. He stuck to his gung-ho personality even when doctors told him he had six months to live. That was in 2005. A year later, he took in part of the 2006 Grey Cup week held in Winnipeg, where he met with former teammates and friends knowing it would be the last time he saw them.
"I've never asked, 'Why me?' I've never questioned it," Jones said that week. "You gotta do what you gotta do. I just have to deal with it and live my life."
His life is taking that downward turn now. He spends his time at the Sunbridge Care and Rehabilitation Center, a county removed from where he grew up in St. Mary's. On some days, Jones, 46, is upbeat and full of wisecracks even though he weighs barely over 100 pounds. Yesterday, the morphine did its work and Jones rested.
"I told his sister that his Canadian family is praying for him," said Gerbrandt. "He's going to the best stadium and the best game and he'll be playing with that great passion of his forever. We're going to miss him but we know he's a fighter."
For those who'd like to send their wishes to Jones, the fax number at the Care and Rehabilitation Center is (912) 496-4330. The nurses and his family members have been reading the letters and stories to Jones.
They've said he appreciates them.
The way his fans appreciated his efforts on the field.