From a young age, Jordan Hirsch dreamed of becoming a doctor, and hoped to one day be a reconstructive plastic surgeon.
Hirsch, a sophomore majoring in biochemistry on the pre-med track at Binghamton University, was inspired largely by his mother, Stacey Dranscak, a five-time cancer survivor.
He became very involved in the Reaching & Inspiring Survivors Everywhere (RISE) group, the first group in the country to raise money for the financial needs of those diagnosed with breast cancer. Dranscak started the group in 2001. Hirsch always wore a pink bracelet in honor of his mother.
He was still wearing the bracelet when she saw him at the hospital.
‘That was all he had. They took all the other things off,’ Dranscak said. ‘The funeral director came over and said Jordan was the only person in the Onondaga office to go wearing any kind of jewelry. I see it as a sign that says ‘Mama I’m OK.’
Hirsch died Friday, May 14 at the age of 19 due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
According to reports, Jordan was close to his home in Auburn when his 1998 Chevrolet Monte Carlo went off Route 20 in Onondaga and into a group of trees at about 5:30 p.m.
Jordan was taken by helicopter to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse where he was pronounced dead. The cause of the accident has not been confirmed.
The funeral for Jordan was held at St. Mary’s Church in Auburn.
According to Kersten Hirsch, Jordan’s father, the entire city had to be shut down in order to accommodate all the traffic arriving at the funeral.
‘There were people standing outside of the church because there were no more seats left,’ Kersten Hirsch said. ‘It was unbelievable how strong the energy was that day. I could feel it.’
The large showing for Hirsch was an echo of his passion for others.
‘He was just always there for you,’ said friend Nicole Kazav, a sophomore majoring in sociology. ‘Jordan was a person who would give up his jacket and his shirt just so you’re not cold. It was crazy how much he did for people.’
According to Dranscak, Jordan overcame a lot of challenges in life and always managed to turn the negative into a positive.
His father said that even though some kids may have treated him poorly in the past, he would always give them a second chance.
‘He was one of the rare gems that sometimes you meet,’ Dranscak said. ‘He sought out the kids that were more of a genuine heart.’
At BU, Jordan found some of these kids in the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity and in the pep band.
According to his father, Hirsch taught himself to play the saxophone around age seven and developed this talent through high school and college.
To honor Hirsch and his love for music, Dranscak and her three other children, Shana, Brock and Ciara, will be holding an event called ‘You will never be alone if you have music in your life.’
The day will include many bands, local musicians and horn players where kids and families can come and listen to music. She hopes to hold it at the end of September.
‘No one [will have] to pay anything,’ Dranscak said. ‘It will just be a beautiful day in his memory.’
More information will become available on Facebook under the name Stacey Ann. Dranscak can also be contacted at email@example.com.
Kersten Hirsch and his wife Jasmine Hirsch are also working to honor Hirsch by creating a scholarship at BU in his memory. The criteria have not yet been decided, but they will be determined once sufficient money has been raised.
To jump-start fundraising for the scholarship endowment, Hirsch’s father and stepmother will be hosting an event at The Spinning Wheel restaurant in North Syracuse on Aug. 29 from 1 to 5 p.m.
They can be reached at (315) 727-9169 for more information about the event.