Saturday, 13 June 2009

Jamie -20 years

It was 20 years ago today when Jamie Westcott's battle with brain cancer came to an end at age 25.

Jamie. a natural as a go-getting Toronto Sun crime reporter in the 1980s, left an indelible impression on colleagues and friends. The presence of Clare Westcott's son in the newsroom was felt immediately after he was hired with the help of Doug Creighton.

Clare says Jamie was first given a summer job while recovering from a brain operation and was hired full-time in the fall after impressing everyone in the newsroom.

"He didn`t want to return to Centennial College for the doctor said although he could live a long time - if it returned (for it was melanoma) he would have one to three years.

"Jamie loved the Sun, but as you know the damn cancer came back in the Spring of `89 and when it got into his lungs, he had to quit."

Before he died, Jamie was told a crime reporting award in his name would be awarded annually.

"Although it was difficult to talk, Jamie said, "Mom, I`m not worried (about being forgotten) any more," says Clare.

Jamie's wide smile and positive attitude while staring down a terminal illness inspired others around him, including college buddy Joe Vecsi, who wanted to share his memories of Jamie with TSF readers. He writes:

"Jamie and I attended Regina Mundi College in London, Ontario, together for Grades 12 and 13 and we were very close friends. We remained friends up until the time of his death.

"People naturally gravitated towards Jamie. He had that special charisma and endless sense of humour that would simply radiate through a crowd.

"Many individuals who are blessed with such qualities tend to associate themselves with specific groups. Jamie didn’t care about social pretenses; he was just as friendly and open to someone who wasn’t popular as he was to his closest friends.

"And he had a precocious side as well.

"My favorite memory is Jamie convincing a group of us to sneak away from boarding school to preview the release of Porky’s at a nearby drive-in. After a lot of laughs and some terrible apple wine, someone managed to sneak into the school.

"A parade of cars entered into Regina Mundi (lights off) barely missing hitting the priest who lived in an outside 'hut' in order to be at one with nature.

"The next day, five of us were suspended but it was worth every minute of it.

"Regards, Joe Vecsi, manager, corporate communications CNW Group."

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