Stuart Boslow honors the memory of — and his love for — his late partner by participating in annual ‘Light The Night’ fundraiser
Jason Harmon and Stuart Boslow had an intense relationship — not in a bad way, but because they crammed a lifetime of memories and love into less than two short years.
Harmon and Boslow found each other on the Internet and chatted online for nearly three months before finally meeting in person over gay Pride weekend in September 2007.
"We met at the Round-Up, had a date a week later, and the rest is history," laughs Boslow, a special projects producer for CBS-11 in Dallas.
Harmon was the global field sales director for Omni Hotels and the Global Hotel Alliance, splitting his time between the two. So even after they first started officially dating, he was quickly off for a month-and-a-half trip around the world, forcing his romance with Boslow to head back to cyberspace.
"We really got to know each other and when he got back, we felt like we’d been together that whole time. It was an interesting way to build a relationship," Boslow says.
"He loved to cook and I love to eat. We enjoyed watching TV shows together and tried a lot of new restaurants. We just enjoyed spending time together," he says.
Then on May 28, 2008, after less than a year together, Harmon was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma, a highly aggressive and often deadly form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. One year later to the day, 39-year-old Harmon died with his parents and partner by his side, exactly as he’d wanted.
Today, Boslow is hard at work on fundraising for the second year of Team Jason, a group he formed of friends and family to raise money and participate in the Light the Night Walk, an annual event for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Last year, they raised nearly $11,000, making Team Jason the No. 1 friends-and-family fundraising team.
This Saturday, April 10, he’s organized a benefit for Team Jason from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Olivia Bennett Gallery in Southlake Town Square. Everything for the event has been donated, including food, beverages, a raffle for an Olivia Bennett limited edition print, and silent auction items, including hotel packages from around the world, jewelry, furniture and more.
It’s Boslow’s hope that this event alone can raise $10,000 for the charity and Team Jason’s overall goal of $25,000 for this October’s Light the Night walk.
"In 2008, he and I walked it together," Boslow says. "Together we raised close to $4,000. We really didn’t know what to expect. Neither of us had ever heard of it, but I think it was really the first time that he felt he wasn’t alone in this. It was only natural for me to create the team after he was gone to do it again."
The nighttime event raises funds and awareness for leukemia and lymphoma research. Each participant carries a balloon: red for supporters, white for survivors and gold balloons are carried in someone’s memory. Inside each is a tiny light, so once the sun sets and the walk begins, a sea of colored lights pushes away the darkness of night.
"He refused to carry a white balloon because he didn’t consider himself a survivor. He was still fighting," Boslow says of Harmon.
In fact, Harmon fought hard from first diagnosis until his final days. He refused to let the disease control his life and constantly sought new treatment options, which included several rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and surgery to remove the tumor.
"He lived his life to the fullest that he could. I think he should be an example for anyone living with cancer, anyone living with any terminal disease, that it’s still possible to live your life. Let those around you love you and do things for you and love them back and do things for them," Boslow says.
Even though their time together was short, Boslow says their bond was unmistakable.
"It was by far the best relationship that I’ve ever been in. I know for a fact that he was the love of my life. I’ll be very hard-pressed to find anyone like that again," he says.
"If he walked in the door this day I would still have the same feelings for him that I did the day he died. It’s crazy how that never goes away."
With the one-year anniversary of Harmon’s passing, Boslow still feels like he’s somehow with him, whether in dreams or something as simple as a song.
"You know how [radio station 103.7 FM] switches over to Christmas music like in October? We would always joke about ‘Feliz Navidad’ because they’d play that song incessantly. The first time it came on, we’d get excited. And then by the fourth time, it was like ‘Oh. My. God.’ We’d start texting each other ‘FN’ for ‘Feliz Navidad’ whenever we heard it. And then there was a Celine Dion version that we hated, so it was just sort of our joke.
"But it was one of those symbols that every time I heard that song, I thought of him. On Christmas Day I went to the cemetery, had a conversation with him, got in the car and that song was playing. I just busted out laughing. I was crying; I was laughing.
"I have dreams about him, too. I had a dream the night he died, that was kind of one of those ‘I’m OK’ dreams. I don’t know if I believe it’s really him or not, but I feel really comforted by them," he says.
And it’s his continued connection to this love that makes Team Jason a lifelong passion.
"This is something I want to do forever. I keep saying, whoever I meet in my life, whoever may be my next partner is going to have to be OK with this. This is something that will be in my life forever. Jason will be in my life forever."
To attend Saturday’s free fundraiser in Southlake, please RSVP to (817) 416-8618. To donate or track the efforts of Team Jason, visit http://pages.lightthenight.org/ntx/DallasL10/TeamJason
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 9, 2010.