SCRANTON — Sad news out of the Electric City where a well-known public servant has lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
Jay Saunders, 47, a former city clerk, died Monday night after a two-year fight with the deadly disease.
Friends and family of Jay Saunders gathered at Jay’s Scranton home to comfort each other and remember the brave man they love.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November of 2010.
“My husband lived two years and two days from his diagnosis which is, truthfully, unheard of. It’s unheard of and that was because he was so strong. He never gave up,” said Jay’s wife, Tammy.
Tammy said her husband lived longer than most with the disease and credits the community-wide support these past two years.
“The community has embraced us for two years with so much love,” said Tammy. “And so although this has been a horrible journey, we just had so many blessings along the way.”
Joining the battle was Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty, who became friends with Jay in 2002, when Jay was city council clerk.
“He set an example for everybody else,” said Mayor Doherty. “He inspired everyone else and I know personally I learned a great deal from him and he had a great impact on my life because I saw what it is to fight and to be against real challenges.”
An April, 2011 fundraiser for Jay was held at the Ice Box in Scranton, called Social For Saunders. Chairperson Angela Rempe-Jones said hundreds turned out and the goal is to continue this event in his honor.
“After Social For Saunders, Jay was very adamant to do anything be done, all proceeds would go to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network,” said Rempe-Jones.
For Tammy, she says Jay may have passed but his battle against pancreatic cancer will live on.
“People ask ‘what can we do, what can we do?’” said Tammy. “People loved Jay, they love our family and so, what I’m asking all of our friends and community to do is to embrace pancreatic cancer and to help us move forward.”
Jay leaves behind two young children.
His family says services will be held later this week.