The Venice High School football team stood in stunned silence last Friday, solemnly holding up the jersey (No. 56) of their fallen comrade.
Joseph Tachiki, 15, was a beloved member of the team whose life came to a sudden end Sept. 29, after the discovery of two sets of unruptured brain aneurysms a couple of weeks earlier. A family friend reported that surgery to repair one of the aneurysms was successful, but that the other burst while awaiting the second procedure.
An online funding drive is under way to assist Tachiki’s family with expenses brought on by their tragedy. As of Tuesday night, the website YouCaring.com listed $44,291 that had been pledged toward a goal of $45,000.
Below is Scott Tachiki’s posting for the fundraising effort. To donate, visit www.youcaring.com.
Help Joseph Tachiki’s Parents in Their Time of Need
This campaign is for Curtis and Christine Tachiki, parents of Joseph (Joe) Tachiki, a 15-year-old Venice High student who passed away on 9/29. This effort is to help offset medical bills and funeral expenses.
Joe was born on 5/23/01 and was always an old soul. It is easy to list off what he was: Boy Scout, athlete, son, big brother, cousin, nephew, grandson, student, friend. But Joe’s unique quality was his good nature. He was always going out of his way to help others and bring people together.
He was the kind of selfless kid who would wake up at 4 a.m. to go to the fish market with his dad. He would shoulder the burden of a heavier backpack so that younger scouts wouldn’t have to. He loved helping anyone really. Joe was sweet, funny, and kind. He loved his community, his friends, and his family. He was strong and tough, but he also expected others to step up — and if you didn’t, he would let you know. Ask his brothers Danny and Jonny.
As a kid, Joe wanted to talk to the grown-ups. He loved to question and challenge ANYTHING. He knew his history (but not his Japanese). He loved his Kings, Dodgers and 49ers but didn’t like to watch them on TV. He loved his PS4, GTA and Battlefield. He hated when his dad would yell at Laker games and snore.
This year, Joe’s coach selected him to be captain of the JV football team. In his coach’s words, “I wish I had more kids like Joe.” It wasn’t because of Joe’s superior athletic prowess, but rather his ability to positively affect those around him. In the 10th grade, as he was beginning his Eagle Scout project, Joe’s life took a sudden turn.
Joe suffered a concussion during practice. He had also been feeling some numbness in his face. X-rays showed objects in his brain, thought to be cysts. An MRI confirmed one large aneurysm behind his left eye, and another located in the middle of his brain in the area that controls all vital functions like breathing and speaking.
Surgery was performed on 9/21 and went as planned. On 9/25, he was alert, joking around with his friends, playing fantasy football, and screaming at the Dodgers on TV. He wanted desperately to go home. We all thought he had made it.
Around 9:30 that night, he had a coughing fit and stopped breathing. His heart stopped beating. They were able to start his heart but he needed assistance to breathe. The second aneurysm had burst. The doctors tried to relieve the pressure on his brain but he did not respond. This is when Joe’s brain stopped functioning. On Thursday, 9/29, Joe was declared legally brain dead.
In his 15 years on Earth, Joe touched so many lives. At a recent prayer vigil covered by ABC News (http://abc7.com/society/family-friends-hold-vigil-for-venice-football-player-/1534892/), 350 people celebrated his brief but meaningful and impactful life. Many kids spoke about how Joe encouraged them to try new things or how he befriended them when no one else would.
Our family was blown away by this outpouring of love and support. Because Joe was such a selfless person in life, his parents felt it was only appropriate to donate his organs so that he could save others (they know Joe would have wanted this). We know his eyes have already gone to someone in Minnesota. We take great comfort in knowing that Joe continues to give and is sparing other parents from feeling the pain that Curtis and Christine are feeling today.
Our family thanks each of you for reading Joe’s story and for helping us to begin to heal from this loss. Hearing your stories and knowing how much Joe was loved have helped us enormously. We are grateful for your support and acts of kindness and are so proud of Joe and the community he helped to nurture and that nurtured him during his life.