“Iron Man” will not be forgotten.
Jared Stogryn, the young man the Times-Review first introduced Johnson County to five years ago, passed away at a Dallas hospital on Sunday. He was 18.
Known for his luck, humor and never-give-up attitude, Jared’s life will be celebrated by friends and family at 10:30 a.m. today at Calvary Baptist Church.
Jared, who had his first open-heart surgery at 7 months old, developed a host of problems after his last surgery — his seventh — on Nov. 20.
He was able to go home from the hospital to spend several days and Christmas with his family, but was re-admitted Dec. 26 with elevated liver enzymes and high white blood cell counts. Two days later, Jared was moved to ICU and doctors discovered an infection in his bloodstream.
“We really thought that by Sunday night we’d see a turnaround because he would have been on the medication for 48 hours then,” said close family friend Margie Dunckel. “Sunday morning he coded, and we got him back. Again, we thought, he’s OK. And then he coded a second time that afternoon and we got him back. We knew he was sick, but Jared’s been on the ‘no coming back point’ before. So, no, I don’t think any of us really felt that this was really it. He was just too weak.”
But despite all the setbacks life threw at him Jared was always a fighter — even nicknamed Iron Man for his recent Left Ventricular Assist Device implant — and remained one until he was gone, Dunckel said.
Family and friends on the Jared Stogryn Updates Facebook page shared stories of memories of Jared.
Many said they’ll remember how easy Jared was to love, his smile, sense of humor and especially, his streak of luck. Doctors didn’t know how long he would live after birth and making it to 18 through so many open-heart surgeries was nothing short of a miracle, Dunckel said.
“[Jared’s parents] Michelle and Mike used to joke that they were going to Vegas when Jared turned 21,” Dunckel said. “One time they went to a casino in Louisiana, but the kids were all too young to go in. Michelle went in and blew $10 and then Mike went in and blew $10. They get ready to leave and they are walking across the parking lot and Jared finds a $20 bill. He walked away with everything they just blew.”
Dunckel said Jared had a quick wit, and even up until over the weekend was joking with nurses when they came into his room. But one thing he took very seriously was his being thankful for how much the community rallied around him.
Through donation jars at local restaurants, a fundraiser set up at OmniAmerican Bank, Chili’s local and regional benefit nights, a garage sale and upcoming benefit concert, Jared never failed to say how grateful he was for the support he and his family was given.
“I remember sitting in the hospital with him and him asking me to make sure that everybody knew that he said ‘thank you’ for everything they’ve done for him and his family,” Dunckel said, fighting back tears. “He said, ‘Make sure that everyone knows said I said thank you from me and give them hugs from me.”
A concert, benefiting the Jared Stogryn Memorial Fund is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 18 at Calvary Baptist Church, 700 Woodard Ave.