Jan 6, 2014

In Honor of Jack and His Amazing Mom Ann

Seven years ago my world was turned on end when everything I knew changed with the birth of my third child. I was totally unprepared to be the parent of a medically complex special needs child. I was lost. It was the moms at www.tracheostomy.com who were my guiding lights in a period of darkness. One of those moms was Ann Schrooten. Her son Jack Schrooten was dependent on a ventilator and she shared their journey on her blog Jack's Journey and Then Some. Although he had muscular dystrophy and was quite physically limited he had the most beautiful smile and spirit. You could tell how much he was loved and what an awesome mom Ann was! Through her son, Jack, Ann has touched countless lives. She helped so many parents by setting an example, showing us all....We CAN do hard things!
Ann took a situation that many people would find unthinkable and didn't just survive it but used it for good. In her spare time (there is no such thing for moms like Ann), on top of a law career, advocating for her son and juggling his nursing staff and parenting 3 other children she is a founding member of the tracheostomy.com family and an administrator for the tracheostomy.com message boards. She organized several nation-wide tracheostomy conferences. She is founder of the Willow Tree Foundation, which offers support to families of medically fragile children and helps to educate physicians about the needs of families of children with special needs (click the link to this video to see how). Although she sounds a bit like a scary super-human-mom, after being friends for years, in October I had the good fortune to spend a weekend away with her and a couple other amazing moms. She is really one of the nicest people ever! 

Sadly Jack's health started to decline over the past year and he suffered from increasingly more frequent bouts of intense pain between periods of calm. He passed away peacefully yesterday, at age 15, leaving so many people heartbroken, most especially his amazing mom. 

Due to advances in medicine and equipment more and more parents are caring for medically intensive children in their own homes. It isn't easy. People often don't know how to help. If you can please make a donation to the Willow Tree Foundation in honor of Jack and Ann.

I would like to share this video of Jack that was made for his 10th birthday so you too can be touched by the spirit of this sweet boy.


  1. Thank You, as Ann's Sister in means so much to first see Jacks Spirit with in his smile which lites up all those that are privil to experince it, and the joy and love Ann, Jack and the family have, and have shared with all.

  2. Indeed Susan - Ann and Jack were an inspiration to so many and most definitely to me! I do not often go on the Trach Boards or Facebook anymore, so I was so saddened when I logged on last night to see that we have lost sweet Jack. Only peace and happiness for our beautiful boy now. I will keep Ann and her family in my thoughts and prayers. I hope Jack's enduring love for his dear Momma sustains her as she copes with such a profound loss.

    Kim Thomas - Jacob's Mom from the Trach Board

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