Ben Jacobson, smiling broadly, embraced his family and warmly acknowledged all the fans who flocked to Johnson Hall Wednesday night to support him in his fight against brain cancer.
"Unbelievable," was his one-word response when asked what the night meant to him. "Unbelievable."
Jacobson, 34, was diagnosed with Level 2 brain cancer in October. The 2 1/2-inch tumor in the frontal lobe of his brain is inoperable, due to its location, but he has vowed to wage a fierce battle against the disease.
Jacobson has been back on the job as an assistant men's basketball coach at Kirkwood Community College since mid-November and he's extremely appreciative of all the support he's received from the Kirkwood athletic department, the Kirkwood community, friends and fans.
A GoFundMe campaign has raised $10,155 for the Jacobson family to help with expenses, already surpassing the initial goal of $10,000.
The NIACC basketball teams, who were Kirkwood's opponents in the doubleheader Wednesday, raised $1,970 for Jacobson at a basketball clinic and presented Jacobson with a check during a pre-game ceremony.
Last night's doubleheader was dubbed "Jake's Game," and all the proceeds from the sale of special T-shirts and other fundraising events will go to his family.
Jacobson received a standing ovation from the crowd and gave fans a clenched-fist salute, a signal of his thanks and determination.
"It's not easy to fight my disease, but I'm a lucky man," he declared while thanking his family, team and community for their love and support. "This is the best medicine a man could ask for."