"Jonah was a shining example of how to live your life.’’
So said Patrick Barnett of his son, Jonah. A memorial service for the Cousins Middle School student, who battled a brain tumor for much of his life, will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at High Point Baptist Church in Covington.
Jonah Bryce Barnett’s journey touched many lives as others witnessed his remarkable determination to live life to the fullest. Diagnosed with a brain tumor at 13 months old, he battled cancer for more than 10 years after doctors said he had only a month to live.
The 11-year-old died Friday, Aug. 9, at his residence. The son of Patrick and Lynice Barnett of Covington, he was a seventh-grader at Cousins Middle School.
Cancer destroyed Jonah’s ability to speak and walk, but he learned to communicate through sign language and technology. While at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Atlanta last year, he shared his greatest wish: to graduate fifth grade at Flint Hill Elementary and move on to middle school.
After a discouraging report from doctors in October 2012, Flint Hill decided to make part of Jonah’s dream come true with a graduation ceremony from fifth grade.
In February, Cousins Middle School welcomed Jonah as its newest student, at a special pep rally. He donned an official Cousins hat and basketball sweatshirt and watched the pep rally, served as special manager of the boys’ basketball game that afternoon, and also received his locker at Cousins.
Jonah also served as an honorary grand marshal for this year’s Special Olympics, held in April.
On Wednesday, Jonah’s dad said the family was "heartbroken beyond words, but we know how truly blessed we are that God chose us to be Jonah’s family on this earth."
"His laugh was contagious, his smile brightened every room, and his eyes could soften even the hardest of hearts. From an early age, Jonah had a desire to make others happy,’’ his father said. "Whether it was purchasing a gift or drawing a picture, Jonah wanted you to know that he was thinking about you.
"This carried over in his support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,’’ his father said. "He recognized what they did for him, and he wanted to show his appreciation by doing all he could to raise money for them."
"The thing that we will remember the most about Jonah, though, was his faith in Christ. Jonah was a shining example of how to live your life: unconditional love, compassion, and obedience. God used Jonah to plant many seeds in his short time on this earth, and we look forward to seeing the fruits in the years to come."
Funeral services for Jonah were held Aug. 12 at Grace Baptist Church, where he was a member, with John Cadwell and the Rev. Chris Dotson officiating. Interment was at Orphans Cemetery, with the Rev. David Marshall officiating. In addition to his parents, Jonah is survived by a sister, Anna; brothers, Austin and Carson; and a host of extended family members. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.