For a father, there can be nothing good about a son dying in the prime of life. But there still can be some light in the darkness.
“I think the only good thing that came out of it is the organ donation to two people,” said Las Vegas attorney Jim Jimmerson, whose son, Jacob, died April 5 at age 25.
Jacob had been “bedeviled” by an addiction to opioids, his father said. He died of an accidental overdose.
“He said that very day, ‘I want to go to AA,’ ” Jimmerson recalled Wednesday.
Instead, Jacob overdosed that night on oxycodone and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
Because of Jacob’s choice to become an organ donor, his heart went to a woman in Arizona, and his liver went to a man in Texas.
“I’m very proud of that,” Jimmerson said. “Two people have their lives prolonged because of that.”
Jacob and other organ donors from across the country will be honored at the 131st Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, on New Year’s Day.
A “floragraph” of Jacob’s likeness will be part of the Donate Life Rose Parade float, whose theme this year is “Light in the Darkness.” The float’s motif will be Southeast Asia’s Diwali, or festival of lights. The aim is to honor donors and increase awareness of the need for organ, eye and tissue donations.
A floragraph is a memorial portrait made of floral and other natural materials, including spices and seeds, said Glenn Abercrombie, general manager of Palm Eastern Mortuary and Cemetery. The mortuary is part of the Dignity Memorial network, which is honoring several organ donors at the parade.
On Wednesday, about 60 of Jacob’s friends and family members joined his father and mother, Carol, to put the finishing touches on the floragraph during a luncheon at what had been Jacob’s favorite restaurant, The Palm Las Vegas at The Forum Shops at Caesars.
Jimmerson said he was “very honored” by the event for his son, a junior at UNLV who worked as a transportation dispatcher and real estate agent, as well as a DJ who went by the name “JJ Gold.”
In 2018, Jacob coordinated bringing the “Moving Wall,” a traveling Vietnam War Memorial, to Las Vegas.
He also played the guitar and enjoyed rock climbing, skiing, skydiving and snowboarding.
Jimmerson will be in Pasadena for the parade.
“It’s a way to honor our son,” he said. “We miss him very much.”