James Martin Fichtner Blaisdell – May 11, 1990 – May 29, 2008
Martin was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma on July 31, 1998. During his 10-year battle with brain cancer, he endured brain and spinal surgeries, spinal taps, chemotherapy infusions, radiation treatments and blood tests too numerous to count, a stem cell transplant, radio frequency treatments and holistic medications. In February of 2008, Martin was diagnosed with AML and was told he had 6 to 8 weeks to live. His doctors said this condition was a rare side-effect caused by his last chemotherapy treatment. AML claimed his life 14 weeks later, but not until he celebrated his 18th birthday on May 11, 2008, which was also Mother’s Day!
Martin was a cancer fighter and, ultimately, one of its victims. However, cancer was NEVER Martin's identity. Martin enjoyed woodworking with his Granddad, playing with remote control gadgets and fishing and hunting with his Dad. He loved his family and friends. He was a kind, giving and loving young man who faced every day with a smile on his face and a love of God in his heart. One of his fellow Duluth Youth members said, “I will never forget the time Martin came to my Sunday school and Ms. Kay had asked us to say one thing we really loved, and when it came to him, he said “Life”. Ms. Kay told him that was a beautiful thing to say, to which his reply was, “Well, I hope you know I was talking about the cereal.” This ability to make people smile in the middle of all of his pain is something for which he will always be remembered.
Martin Blaisdell was truly a miracle among us and his spirit continues to bless us in so many ways.