The REAL Story About Vees Chaplain Jamie Weberg

Jamie_Vees

 

 

At this time of year, the Penticton Vees players and coaches are consumed by wins and losses, and how it effects their season, and let’s be honest, their personal well-being. But their focus has also shifted off the ice recently, after one member of their organization was dealt with some life changing news.

Jamie Weberg, the Vees team Chaplain, was recently diagnosed with bone cancer. A form of cancer that’s incurable but treatable with various forms of medication. But Jamie’s attitude is in the right place, as he quipped he’ll do “whatever it takes,” adopting the Vees team slogan in his battle with cancer.

It was unexpected news for Jamie, 35, and his wife Kristen, who he has two kids with Emma, aged 5 and Jensen 2. Jamie says he felt “wiped out” and “nauseous” since the New Year but initially it was thought he just had a winter bug, like so many of us do this time of year. Jamie was ordered to stay off his feet and get a week’s rest. He returned to his busy schedule of help running the Penticton Church of Nazarene, where he has been a pastor for eight years. His symptoms persisted and a trip to the hospital the following week discovered something far more serious.

“They found my kidneys were only functioning at thirty percent and a high calcium count in my blood. Then it was a bone biopsy and kidney biopsy and more blood tests, and it went on and on,” said Jamie.

The results from his tests came in on February 7th. It wasn’t the news he was hoping for. Jamie shared the results with the Vees coaching staff and players that day before their game with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The Vees went on to win 3-2 behind an emotional charged effort, one which Jamie got to enjoy in person with his wife and some family; a welcomed distraction.

How did a soft-spoken, baby-faced pastor get involved with the Vees? Well, through their rivals the West Kelowna Warriors no less. Two years ago Weberg was approached by the Warriors Chaplain and head of Hockey Ministries’ BC Division Don Richmond, about an opening he had in Penticton.

“I love hockey, I grew up playing hockey, and I wanted to part of it any way I could” said Jamie “I was so nervous that first time coming in but right away they put me at ease, I felt so much care and respect from the players and the entire organization.”

For the past three seasons, Weberg has come into the rink every second Tuesday, with a party platter of subs under one arm, and towing a cooler full of soft drinks with the other, to “share life with the boys,” as he puts it. Jamie says he has a “young face” that the players can relate to, let their guard down, and just talk about whatever may be troubling them.

“They’re young, some of them are far from home, and they’re dealing with different situations. They share on topics they want to talk about, and I can speak to them through my experiences at their age, and give them a faith based perspective on how to steer their moral compass and how that will benefits them.”

At the beginning of every season, Jamie speaks on the makeup of a team, one in which he says consists of three main components: physical, mental and spiritual. Physically, he says, they are with each other all season, battling game in and game out. Mentally, they handle a ton of pressure, pushing for scholarships. Then there’s the spiritual aspect, where he can lend his expertise.

“They’re great kids doing great things; we talk about being a complete player on the ice, and there’s also being a complete player in the game we call life. That’s where I want to help them.”

The tables were turned when Jamie got news of his cancer, as it was the team, 22 young-men, coming to comfort him. The Monday after he got his test results, the entire team surprised him by showing up to his house with a team signed jersey and stick. A bunch of 16 to 20-year-olds applied lessons learned from their Chaplain.

“I told them this is what it’s all about, being there for each other, supporting one another in a times of need.”

Jamie was taken aback by the gesture, when recounting the visit from the team, he paused, the emotion in his voice grew when he said, “On championship teams, there are moments that teammates share with one another that they’ll never forget, and that moment, that day they came to see me, I’ll never forget and that’s what it’s all about.”

The Vees are battling for top spot in the Interior Division in the final weeks of the regular season. Jamie has started his own battle, as he’s taking medication, a type of steroid, which helps combat the pain, and like a hockey team, he has his good days and bad days.

“The four days I’m on the steroids I feel like I have energy, I want to get up, I want to shower, get dressed, I feel like eating. But on those four days off, I don’t want to do anything, I don’t want to eat; it’s been emotional, a see-saw.”

Jamie has gone under a battery of tests at clinics here in Penticton and seen specialists in Kelowna. it’s frustrating, playing the waiting game  for results. He’s recently had to go back to the hospital, for more x-rays, after pain flared up in his chest, which means even more medication.

Jamie says it’s been hard on his family too. His strength comes and goes, meaning he can’t be involved as much as he wants to in the day-to-day life of being a husband and a dad to his children Emma and Jensen. Just letting his guard down and just being sick, as he says, has been hard on them. However, because of them, his kids, Jamie is determined to beat the cancer. With a grin, Jamie notes that he can’t wait to just spend more time with his family when he’s healthy.

In the meantime, Jamie says he is so thankful for the support system he and his family have from the team and especially his church, which has done so much for them, from brining over hot meals to helping out with work around the house.

But it doesn’t end there. The Vees have announced they will donate fifty percent of walk-up tickets sales from Friday’s home game against the Trail Smoke Eaters, to Jamie and his family to help in his fight against cancer. There will also be a table setup at the rink for season ticket holders to donate to the family. The team is also working with the BCHL office, to have a recent fine they were levied to instead be donated to the Weberg family.

Jamie says it’s been a weird struggle, being on the other end of people’s generosity. He is humbled by the outpouring of support, “It’s always easier being on the giving side, where you can be helping people out, but you just have to get past the pride, as I don’t know how long this road is.”

Jamie says when he sees people in need, it’s an opportunity to give, and that’s a privilege and honour to be able to do that.

Well, now it’s our turn to give back to one a man that has dedicated his life to giving back to his community. Join the Penticton Vees on Friday, February 21st, to show your support to Jamie and the Weberg family. Puck drops at 7pm. Here’s an opportunity to give.

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About CBeauchemin

Director of Broadcasting & Communication for the Penticton Vees
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14 Responses to The REAL Story About Vees Chaplain Jamie Weberg

  1. Neil Allenbrand says:

    Wow, we are so moved by the compassion of the Vee’s and staff, in helping such a great family. Doing such a tangible act of support and encouragement to someone who has help so many in our community, speaks highly of a group of young men who think beyond themselves. These guys are demonstrating to our community, that we really do need each other. Other young people who admire these young men are seeing great role models, which we truly need these days.
    This attitude will serve these young men through out their lives. Thank you so much for what you have done and are doing.
    Neil Allenbrand ( Jamie Weberg’s co-worker)

    • Anonymous says:

      Neil,
      We will keep Jamie and his family in our prayers. We trust God is at work in this situation.
      Even this blog acts as a testimony of God at work.

      Mark Noonan

  2. Anonymous says:

    i have had the opportunity to know jamie, his wife and his dad as customers in previous employment, always with smiles and generous friendly conversation they are truely the kind of people i hope my own son grows up to be. months after i changed jobs i bumped into them at the rink and as always it was more than just a smile that was shared as i was asked what i was up to and how things were going in life overall. always a kind word of encouragement that stays in your heart is a game changer in the smallest of ways so i can only imagine how much life has been shared throughout the city. many blessings to the weberg family, may gods light shine on this part of your journey and his strength carry the load down the road ahead. thank you to the vees for showing such support and commitment.
    jenn

  3. Anonymous says:

    One of the nicest guys i have ever met, its very sad and I wish Jamie and his family all the best. You can beat this Jamie. I know you can. Woody

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a well written story. You really touched on who Jamie Weberg is. Jamie has touched so many peoples lives over the years he has been in Penticton. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jamie and Kristen everyday.
    Keep the faith bro.

  5. Anonymous says:

    what is a chaplain?

  6. Chris says:

    Jamie Weberg is one of the kindest people I know! This article described him to the tee!!! I couldn’t be more proud of the young man he has become. He has touched my life and heart without even knowing it !!! His parents are wonderful people and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. (: Jamie my thought and prayers are with you and your family as you take this journey to wellness. Love you!!!

  7. Jason Clark says:

    Just throwimg a comment in from Saskatchewan and i also have to say that we are saddened to hear of the news Jamie and his family is facing but so blessed to hear that his “Vees Family” are being such a blessing. May your spirits be lifted as you do your part for Jamie and his familyand may Gods spirit rest upon your orfanization. Thank you for loving supporting encouragimg and cheering on Jamie and his family. You have a new fan here in Saskatchewan!!! Jamie we love u and i will be praying rhat God will be with your family as you journey through this difficult time. Keep smiling and keep us posted of how things are!!! Love your Sakatchewan Brother of the same Father!!! Love ya man and proud of you Vees! Wayto make God smile!! Great story!

  8. DARREL SCHUTTE says:

    Hey Jamie just wanted to say you are an awesome guy and with your positive outlook on life not to mention your faith in OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. You will rise up out of this valley a stronger man and have a different perspective on life . Our home group is praying for you and your family.Lean on God and He will give you the strength to endure through this difficult time .
    Darrel & Laurie Schutte

  9. Peter says:

    Hi Jamie
    I am so sorry to learn about your illness. While it is always difficult to accept the situation once a proper medication is established I hope your life will return to “normal”
    I have known you for a long time and it was such a pleasure being your teacher and friend. It was my daughter that made me aware of your illness.
    The every best wishes for a fast recovery and a great future. God has a way to looks after us.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Only in the past few weeks have I met Jamie and his family briefly, as I walk for hip replacement healing in his neighborhood. My heart reaches out to he and his family, as his journey begins,..God bless and nurture you back to good health sincerely monica Moran

  11. Ruth Czerniak says:

    I was so touched by this story and the ministry given and received – how Jamie ministered to his team, and then how they are ministering to him. It is a valley, to be sure, but God’s Son Light is shining so brightly even through the depths of this difficulty that many will come to know Him better in spite of and perhaps because of this challenge. God asks that we be faithful in life – and Jamie and his family are doing just that. We are praying for you, Jamie. God hears and answers prayer – and receives the Glory we give Him even in difficult situation!
    2 Chron. 33:12-13 “And when he was in affliction he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.”
    Praying for you across the miles,
    Pastor Ruth and the Dawson Creek and Tupper Churches of the Nazarene

  12. Anonymous says:

    The first time I met Jamie was when he and Pastor Neil came to my mother’s house to talk about funeral arrangements at the church. Jamie was new and young but I wanted him to speak about the woman I loved most in my life. Jamie had never done this before. My first impressions were right, I had made the right choice. I cannot say that about many people I have met in my lifetime.
    Jamie has proven every day, week, month, year he is a man of GOD and it has been a blessing for me and my boys to have him in our lives. Yes, Jamie the cross you carry is heavy, but let it be known if I could bear it instead of you, I would.

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