In 2004, guitarist Jason Crigler was a fixture in the downtown New York music scene, playing with a variety of new bands as well as notables such as Marshall Crenshaw, Ollabelle, Teddy Thompson, Erin McKeown, Linda Thompson, John Cale, and Norah Jones.
One night, in the middle of a show, a blood vessel in Jason’s brain burst open. He was rushed to the hospital where doctors told Jason’s family, “Even if he lives through the night, there won’t be much left of the man you know.”
The stroke left the 34-year-old musician immobile and barely responsive. Doctors thought Jason would need to spend the rest of his life in a nursing home. But Jason’s family—his parents, sister, and pregnant wife—believed that Jason could recover if he were given a chance. They dedicated themselves to doing whatever was necessary for Jason to get well.
Jason had to relearn how to walk, speak and eat. He suffered from intense fatigue on a daily basis. His vision had been severely impaired from the bleed. In addition to regaining control of his body and mind, Jason had woken up to find that a year-and-a-half had passed, he now lived in a different state, and he had become a father.
Jason was determined to reclaim his life. With the help of his courageous family, he did just that. Today Jason leads a normal, productive life as a husband, father, family member and musician. His recovery has been so successful that many medical professionals have called it a miracle.
How did this miracle happen? To show how and why Jason recovered, Jason and his sister Marjorie have been traveling around the country delivering their powerful multimedia presentation, Defying The Odds. Marjorie speaks from the family’s point of view, while Jason offers a survivor’s perspective. Part Twilight Zone, part The Incredibles, this inspirational talk examines the power of music, love and family, and shows that nothing is impossible when people unite for a common goal.
Jason’s story was the subject of the award-winning documentary Life. Support. Music. which aired on PBS’ POV series in 2009. The film was chosen for over two dozen film festivals, won several audience choice and social cause awards, and played in movie theatres in New York, Massachusetts and Italy. Jason and Marjorie have been interviewed or featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, WMNF’s The Women’s Show, the CBS News show Up To The Minute, NBC News Boston, AOL Health, The Boston Herald and The Boston Globe.
- What now? How changing your perspective can change your life. Rebuilding your world after a major calamity. Nurturing your ability to live in the present moment.
- What if we just can’t agree? How love can bring us together in spite of our differences, to unite for a common goal. The power of a united family. Strategies for effective collaboration.
- Why music? How music can penetrate when language cannot. Music as a lifeline for a non-responsive person.
- What’s that you’re feeling? Trusting your instincts in the face of overwhelming skepticism. Believing your inner sense of what feels right. Following your heart.
- Where do you turn when all seems lost? Confronting fear. Tools and strategies for handling seemingly impossible tasks. Finding courage in a seemingly hopeless situation. Strategies for staying grounded.