Jordan Howell was diagnosed with Friedreich's Ataxia at fourteen, shortly after his sister passed away due to complications of Leukemia. He asked the doctor not to spare him, "to give it to him straight." He and his sister had been attending a High school with exhilarated programming, and he decided not to tell anybody about the debilitating disease, but to work hard and live life to its fullest. Supported in every possible way by his grandfather Frank Howell, he focused on his studies, discovered the theater, became the lighting designer for school plays and graduated with top grades.

During the course of his studies at UNT, Jordan switched his major from Film Production to Copywriting and Broadcast Advertising. He graduated from the RTVF department at the University of North Texas in 2002 with a 3.3 GPA.

As Jim Albright, one of the faculty members stated in a letter of recommendation:
Jordan excelled in all aspects of the advanced Copywriting course. He exhibited a work ethic rare among my students. Not only does he have total focus on the assignment, but also the right kind of focus. On the sale. On the truth well told, as the McCann motto goes.
Not long after his graduation, Frank Howell, the man who vouched his grandson notwithstanding the grim diagnosis of FA, would have the best opportunities to follow his dreams, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Instead of leaving for Austin, TX to become a copywriter, Jordan focussed on spending quality time with his grandfather, and be with him till the end.

Jordan is back from a ten year hiatus. Ready to spread word about Friedreich's Ataxia, ready to raise awareness, ready to support fundraising efforts for scientific projects focussed on finding the cure for FA.

1 comment:

  1. I met Jordan when his Grandfather brought him to my favorite playground, the Caddo Mills Municipal Airport to make a tandem skydive. Jordan was wheel-chair bound and making a skydive would be challenging to say the least. I expressed my concerns to Mr. Howell about the physical limitations inherent in this type of activity. Grandpa let me know that the limitations and dangers involved in skydiving were not something that would stop Jordan's desire to experience the sensation of flying through the air, unencumbered by his earthbound restraints. Mr. Howell pleaded his case, I reiterated my concerns and Jordan let me know that he was ready to face any consequences. I couldn't refuse.
    Jordan had little use of his legs and relied on mine for the exit from the airplane. I distinctly remember climbing out onto the small airplane step, Jordan reached out, grabbed the airplane strut and all but pulled the two of us off the airplane. He was not to be denied.
    The jump went extraordinarily well, I underestimated Jordan's upper-body strength! We landed safely and the smile on his face told me all I needed to know. His indomitable spirit will serve him well in his endeavors.
    I also know that his Grandfather's love will stay with him. I am proud to know Jordan and I wish him Godspeed in finding a cure for Friedreich's Ataxia.