Double blow for talented jumper - Loses both parents in seven months
Mother's Day 2018 will forever be etched in the mind of Andre Douglas, the former Jamaica College jumper who is a freshman at the University of Texas, San Antonio.
The day will stand out more than any other because it was the first Mother's Day that Douglas had to honour his mom, on this special day, posthumously, after she lost her battle with cancer on April 22.
And Douglas made the day special for his mom by jumping to two huge personal bests in the long and triple jumps at the USA Conference on the day Mother's Day was celebrated this year - May 13.
"The night before I competed, my mother was on my mind. I cried myself to sleep and said to myself that I had to do something special for her tomorrow," Douglas recalled.
Douglas did 15.56 metres in the triple jump to capture the bronze medal and registered 6.76m in the long jump final.
His efforts have been praised by his teammates and other collegiate athletes, primarily because his mom, Kiesha Edwards, was diagnosed just over a month before her passing.
"She learned that she had cancer in March. So we didn't have a lot of time to prepare for it, mentally," Douglas said.
But what makes Douglas' efforts seem more heroic is that he was still healing the wounds from the death of his father in October of last year.
Yes, since he took up the athletics scholarship to study business management in the United States, he lost both his parents.
"There is no way to describe the feeling since I have been here. I lost both of them. It is unbelievable that I lost both of them in less than a year," Douglas said.
"My father was really ill for some time. He had a bladder problem, but I never imagined that I would have lost both of them so quickly."
When his father passed, he jumped on a plane a couple of weeks after to arrange and take part in the funeral. But this time, the funeral arrangements for his mother will take place after the former JC athlete competes in the West preliminary round of the NCAA Division I championships to win a spot to compete at the National Championships.
"I qualified for the regional championships, so I told my aunt to delay the arrangements until after that," Douglas said.
The West preliminary round is scheduled for May 24 and 25, while the national championship will be on June 6-9.