Thurston County community shows support for man on palliative home care during car parade

The Yelm community came out in force to support Jeren Pollock, 21, in a 139-car parade that took place on Saturday January 8 outside his Yelm home where Pollock has been confined for two years in palliative care at home. .

Pollock has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which causes muscle degeneration by modifying certain proteins, which help maintain muscle growth, said Tad DesVoignes, who learned of the disease while he was a bus driver. Pollock School.

The disease is considered incurable, so people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy struggle to slow its progression through physical therapy and steroids, DesVoignes said.

“It was about six years ago when I first met Jeren,” DesVoignes said. “At that time, he still controlled most of his right hand and from the base of his neck up. He was already a pro at driving with his motorized wheelchair.

He said Pollock could navigate the narrow confines of the school bus without a problem.

“He was better at backing up without being able to turn his head than most people I know, including me,” DesVoignes said.

He described Pollock as “a clever kid” who “would often help new bus drivers and helpers know how to best secure their chair to the bus.”

DesVoignes said Pollock is kind and compassionate, although he didn’t hesitate to point out DesVoignes’ “horrible driving” by joking when he was on the bus.

Pollock is said to enjoy school, although DesVoignes suspects his dedication to the institution was more social than academic.

“He was always disappointed when he couldn’t make it to school,” DesVoignes said. “When the pandemic hit, he was at home for the time he had at school, cut off from these friendships.”

When the community came together to give Pollock a taste of the social atmosphere it lacked, it was “a little way to get some of that social friendship back,” DesVoignes said.

Importantly, DesVoignes said the outpouring of love from the community was huge for Pollock.

“He also got to see some close friends from the school who were able to attend,” he said. “So many friends, family and community members who (know him) (were) present. It meant a lot to him.

Ultimately, the parade was not only a heartwarming vehicle for Pollock’s support, but something that helped the community as well.

“It was so nice to have something like this parade for the community,” said DesVoignes. “It seemed to have brought people together for a positive result, rather than focusing on the things that separate us from our neighbors. We were finally all united for a good cause.

The unofficial tally of parade participants reached 139 cars, although the actual number may be a bit higher given the routes some vehicles take, DesVoignes said.

“Jeren and his whole family were very grateful and appreciated everyone’s participation and enthusiasm,” he said. “The outpouring of love went both ways. It was lovely to watch. I heard from (her mother) Sheila (Russell) that Jeren not only couldn’t help but smile all the time, but that he also said hello to each of the passing cars.

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