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Jacob’s legacy

Jacob Snyder, second from left, rows for the Winter Park Crew team during his senior year.

Jacob Snyder, second from left, rows for the Winter Park Crew team during his senior year.

Kristy Vickery

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Jacob Snyder’s smile was not the only infectious quality he left behind — his willingness to give back is a virtue that continues to touch the lives of many.

The 21-year-old’s battle with cancer ended in November, but his legacy of helping others will live on. On Saturday, Jan. 15, the Orlando Rowing Club will celebrate his memory with a blood drive from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lake Fairview Park.

“This is a wonderful way to celebrate what was important to him,” said Lisa Snyder, Jacob’s mother and Orlando Rowing Club member.

The blood drive will continue a passion that began for the Winter Park Crew member after he was diagnosed with kidney cancer when he was 3.

“He received a lot of blood as a child, and I guess he just considered that he was alive because others had donated,” Snyder said.

Jacob’s mission

Orlando Rowing Club General Administrator Heather Brooks said it was Jacob’s family’s wish that people donate blood in his honor.

“That’s why we decided to host the event, to do that for them,” Brooks said. “The whole rowing community is pretty close.”

Jacob’s own battle with cancer inspired him to give back to those in need, and when he was 17, he organized his own blood drive for his Eagle Scout Project.

photo

Photo courtesy of Lisa Snyder

Jacob Snyder shows off some of the awards he received for rowing. He died at the age of 21, after an 18-year bout with cancer.

“When he got to his Eagle project, it was a no-brainer, he knew right away what he wanted to do — he wanted to do a blood drive,” Snyder said.

And now the Orlando Rowing Club is continuing Jacob’s mission to give with the gift of blood.

‘More than a drive’

“We’re very excited about it and happy to sponsor it,” Orlando Rowing Club Chairman William Enright said. He also said health professionals will have booths set up at the drive to encourage others to become more aware of their own health.

“It’s more than just a blood drive,” Enright said. “It’s a celebration of his life, while giving other people that come to give blood the opportunities to check up on other things.”

Snyder said she was unexpectedly surprised when Enright approached her with the idea.

“I thought it was unbelievably generous; we were all sort of taken back in a positive way,” Snyder said.

Annual event plans

She also said she initially thought it was too early for her and her family to take part in the drive, but has since realized the drive is helping them.

“It’s helping us in more ways than one,” Snyder said. “First of all, it’s important that Jake is being honored … and second, it’s helping our family move forward.”

Orlando Rowing Club President Jim Field said the club plans to make this an annual event.

“We’re trying to give back as much as we can,” Field said. “It’s about fostering wellness in the community.”

Passion lives on

About one in seven people entering a hospital need blood, and one donation can help save the lives of three people.

Jacob knew how important blood can be to someone in need, and his passion lives on, impacting the lives of many.

“He’s having as much impact in death as he did in life, because the community keeps him alive,” Snyder said.

Learn more

The memorial blood drive will be held on Saturday, Jan. 15

from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lake Fairview Park, 2200 Lee Road.

For more information on the blood drive in

memory of Jacob visit www.floridasbloodcenters.org/Jacob