Howell council members pay tribute to youngster who battled cancer

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HOWELL – Members of the Howell Township Council have honored the memory of a 7-year-old resident who lost his courageous battle with a rare form of cancer a year ago.

Jake Honig, who was given the nickname “The Tank,” died on Jan. 21, 2018 after a five-year battle with cancer.

When the council met on Feb. 5, Mayor Theresa Berger read a proclamation honoring the youngster.

“Jake was a little boy in our town who had cancer and because of him medical marijuana is now accessible to people who need it. This proclamation is not only for Jake, it is for all of you,” Berger said.

Berger said Jake handled the treatment and toxic medications he was required to take like a true fighter.

“Jake’s positive attitude, strength and fighting spirit during his treatment earned him the nickname ‘The Tank’ and gained the admiration of all who met him, as well as the entire Howell community,” Berger said.

“We honor Jake’s memory and we also recognize his loving family and admire their strength and resiliency in helping their beloved son and brother in his brave battle,” the mayor said.

In June 2017, Howell police officers named Jake an honorary police officer.

Berger said Jake’s legacy “lives in the hearts of everyone who knew him … the research made possible through the study of his illness and the thousands of dollars raised in his memory for pediatric cancer research.”

The council acknowledged “the courageous, tireless fight by Jake and his family to try and change state legislation and improve the quality of life for all individuals suffering from the effects of this illness.”

Jake was called “The Tank” because of how quickly he bounced back from his diagnosis and surgery in 2012, according to his father, Mike.

Jake was in remission for four years, until a scan showed a tumor had returned in the same location and same size as 2012. He had a high grade malignant brain tumor caused by a specific gene mutation.

His parents, Mike and Janet, lobbied state officials to consider easing restrictions on medical marijuana, which they said had been the most effective way to treat their son during the last weeks of his life.

Two days after Jake died, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order directing a review of the state’s medical marijuana program to eliminate barriers to access for patients.

The Honigs said they were allowed to purchase just 2 ounces of marijuana flower, which they had to cook down to create the cannabis oil they used to treat Jake’s pain.