The Richmond Register

Local News

July 5, 2012

The story of Jason Newby: ‘Miracles Through Music’ to benefit Hospice

BEREA — On Saturday, friends and family of Jason Newby will celebrate the life of a man whose many battles to stay alive seemed nothing short of a miracle.

Saturday's benefit in his memory is being called “Miracles Through Music,” said Amber Miles, Newby’s sister.

The program, beginning at 1 p.m in Memorial Park, will feature a long line-up of local musicians. It will continue until dark. There also will be face painting, a cake walk, a cornhole tournament, inflatables and a silent auction.

Several organizations and businesses have donated food, T-shirts, furniture, electronics and amusement park tickets to sale.

Proceeds from “Miracles Through Music” will be donated to families of cancer patients at the University of Kentucky's Markey Cancer Center and the Hospice Compassionate Care Center, where Newby lived the last months of his life.

A 1996 Madison Southern High graduate, a member of Crestview Holy Sanctuary church and the Berea Masonic Lodge, Newby would have “gotten a kick out of having a (newspaper) story written about him,” his sister said.

In October 2008, the then 30-year-old Newby was standing in line, waiting to get a title for his dirt bike. He blacked out and was quickly rushed to the hospital in Berea where doctors discovered an elevated white blood cell count.

The diagnosis was chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), which starts inside bone marrow, but is usually treatable.

 Newby was told he could live a relatively normal life, his sister said, because this type of leukemia can be treated with a daily pill.

Amber remembered when her brother called her with the news.

She was living in Hawaii with her husband David, who was stationed there as a Marine Corps helicopter mechanic.

Amber was nine months pregnant and on the phone with an umbilical cord blood bank when Newby beeped in to tell her. Not realizing the gravity of her brother’s phone call, she ignored it.

She and David were interested in banking their newborn’s umbilical cord blood and stem cells, the body’s master cells that can be used to treat certain cancers, blood disorders, metabolic disorders and immune diseases.  

However, the procedure was going to be costly and the Miles family decided not to follow through.

Later, when Amber learned of her brother’s condition, she called the bank back and asked them one question: Can this cord blood help my brother?

Possibly, they said.

“That’s all I needed to know,” said Amber. “I saw this as a sign.”

Newby told his doctors, “My nephew is coming out of the womb to help his uncle.”

Later, doctors said Newby wouldn’t need a bone marrow transplant because medication would be sufficient.

Newby thrived on the medicine and even helped Amber move back into her Hawaii home. Amber had temporarily moved back to Berea to be with her brother during the seven months David was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Her brother, seven years older than she, had always been by her side, she said. He supported her when her father died, escorted her during her high school homecoming and walked her down the aisle at her wedding.

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