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Isaac Wilcott refused to let cancer limit his dreams

Service set to honor Tualatin grad who bravely battled illness while achieving goals


by: JAIME VALDEZ - Isaac Wilcott, a 24-year-old Tualatin resident, was followed in several stories in The Times as he battled cancer. Wilcott died on Oct. 5.More than six years after having major surgery to remove a baseball-size tumor from his head, the young man who wanted to design shoes for Nike succumbed to his long battle with brain cancer.

Isaac Jeffrey Wilcott died in his Tualatin home Friday at age 24.

But before he died, he realized a dream of receiving an honorary degree (he was a few credits shy) in industrial design from Arizona State University, and kept pursuing his dream of someday working for the world’s leading supplier of athletic shoes.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Southlake Foursquare Church, 1555 S.W. Borland Road, in West Linn, where Wilcott was a member.

“He had actually done some job-shadowing for Nike,” said his sister, Cori Moler. “He had wanted to design for the Team Jordan Brand.”

Throughout his battle with cancer, it was his faith in God that helped him endure treatments, something that remained with him until the end, Moler said.

Surviving are his parents, Yoka Wilcott and Jeff Wilcott; sister Cori Moler; brothers Thaddeus, Aaron, Jeremiah and Garrett; nieces Kayla, Kendala and Taylor; nephews Elijah, Niko and Josiah; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Powerful walk

A short time after surgery to remove the tumor in his head in May 2006, Wilcott pledged that he’d walk up to the stage to get his Tualatin High School diploma without the help of the cane doctors said he’d most likely need.

“I want to be able to do it under my own power,” Wilcott told The Times shortly before he graduated.

In the end, Wilcott walked unaided to receive his diploma.

“He got a standing ovation from the whole crowd,” Moler recalled of her brother who played soccer as a youth and basketball all through high school.

Bill Groener, a friend of the family, said he’ll remember Wilcott as “just a good kid.”

The last several years were an “emotional yo-yo” for both Wilcott and his family, as the young man’s tumor would shrink and then return, he added.

“His treatments were brutal, I do remember that,” Groener said. “To actually get his degree was (absolutely) amazing.”

Wilcott will be remembered for his strong faith and determination.

“The kid had a lot of faith, just like his mom,” said Groener. “On every email I got from Yoka, (her son’s) motto was ‘Here to stay.’”

Wilcott endured another operation in May, and that’s when the family learned he had Stage 4 cancer, Moler said.

Through it all, Moler was inspired by her brother’s positive attitude.

“I just graduated from nursing school, and (he’s) the reason I went,” she said. “I actually moved to Arizona so he’d have family down there in case anything happened.”

For all intents and purposes, her brother was her first patient.

An inspiration

In Arizona, Wilcott worked as a mortgage collector, played indoor recreational soccer and “pretty much carried on with his life.”

“Through this battle, Isaac would never complain,” Isaac’s sister said. “When someone would ask him how he’s doing, he’d revert and ask how they were doing.”

Moler said Nike’s Team Jordan representatives were inspired by Wilcott’s dream of someday working for the brand. Wilcott designed his own sketches of how he envisioned the popular shoes. The world sports apparel giant made sure Wilcott had a new pair of Jordans to wear at the funeral home viewing.

Wilcott served as an inspiration to family and friends.

Moler said her 13-year-old daughter Kayla, who shares Wilcott’s love of basketball, hopes to set up an annual memorial tournament to raise scholarships in honor of her uncle.

Moler believes her brother was an inspiration to all of those who came in contact with him.

“He did not let his cancer stop him from what he wanted to do,” said Moler. “He’s a hero in many people’s lives, definitely in mine.”

(Additional information comes from archived articles written by former Tualatin Times reporter Jennifer Clampet.)



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