Midshipman 1st Class Jason Jablonski of Orchard Park, a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., died Sunday in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., after succumbing to leukemia. He was 21.
Jablonski was diagnosed with the disease in August and had been receiving treatment at Walter Reed.
His condition became worse over Thanksgiving weekend and his immune system “surrendered to an infection,” the academy said.
He died surrounded by family and fellow midshipmen.
"Midshipman Jablonski was well known by fellow midshipmen for his tremendous optimism and ability to have a positive impact on everyone he met, even in the face a of a disease like leukemia," Naval Academy Commandant Marine Col. Steve Liszewski said in a statement. "His attitude and fighting spirit can serve as an inspiration to us all, and his passing is a humble reminder about the value of life."
At Annapolis, Jablonski was a member of the 13th Company and played on the men’s club ice hockey team.
An economics major, he was on the Superintendent’s list for the past three semesters and on the Commandant’s list every semester during his time at the academy.
In his company, he previously was a platoon sergeant and a squad leader.
The son of Joseph and Lori Jablonski of Orchard Park, he was a 2013 graduate of St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, where he was a defenseman on the varsity hockey team.
Also an exceptional soccer player, he was named defensive player of the year in the Monsignor Martin Association and was one of two St. Francis students chosen to take part in the "Exceptional Seniors" soccer game, featuring 50 of the most talented players in the area, in November 2012.