In a Hospital Room in McKeesport, a Story of Resilience

By David Stephens | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

(Kim Ursta and Jason Mollard exchange vows in the chapel at UPMC McKeesport hospital on June 13. UPMC McKeesport photo)


I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into UPMC McKeesport hospital recently to meet Jason Mollard, and his new wife, Kim Ursta.

In late November 2016, Jason was diagnosed with two inoperable brain tumors that caused him to lose his vision.

Jason grew up in McKeesport, and Kim grew up in White Oak. They’ve lived their entire lives in the area, both attending McKeesport High School, although not knowing each other at the time. The community around them has been a pillar of strength for the family in their time of need. Friends, family, and neighbors have raised funds, extended sympathies, prepared meals, and offered support in every way they can.

Jason and Kim met on June 13, 1989, they immediately clicked with one another and continued talking every day after that. One year later, June 13, 1990, they had their first daughter Kayla. And so, it was very fitting that on June 13, 2017, they once again had a significant milestone by getting married in the Hospital chapel.

As they go through this, the hardest trial of their lives, it is so quickly apparent the love that these two share for each other. The room absolutely lights up when one talks about the other. You can hear the earnest love in Jason’s voice when he describes his wife and how beautiful she is to him.

When asked what he most admires about his wife, Jason is quick to gush and never seems to run out of things to say. The love between these two, is every bit as strong as it has been every day of the last 28 years.

Jason has been at Holtec International for the past seven years, starting out as a laborer, but through hard work and rigorous training he was able to become a welder. He fell in love with his work, and he forged a strong relationship with his working crew.

This relationship has been a solid foundation for his family in these trying times. They have donated hours of work, thousands of dollars, and even a brand new washer-dryer to help Mollard and his family make ends meet.

Jason and Kim both spoke with sincere love when they talked about their children, and what it was like for them. Their daughter Kayla, 27, has been a wonderful pillar of support and Kim admired how Kayla handled herself through it all. Jason spoke as proud as any father could speak of their son when talking about Jeremy.

Jason said he knows that Jeremy, 16, is having a hard time expressing his emotions, but he also knows that Jeremy loved him deeply.

Going into what by all rights should be a very somber room, the warmth and love that fills the little hospital room on the second floor of UPMC McKeesport is a bastion of light in a dark place. Their story is one of resilience, one of love, and one that shows it is never too late to live your life.

David Stephens is a freelance writer living in White Oak.


Opinions expressed in commentaries are those of individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tube City Community Media Inc. Tube City Community Media welcomes submissions by and about people from the McKeesport area. Write to Tube City Online, P.O. Box 94, McKeesport 15134, or email tubecitytiger@gmail.com. Submissions may be edited for length or clarity.

Originally published June 30, 2017.

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