A Mom’s Story About Illness, Courage, and Love


The rewarding part of publishing is the feedback from readers. The Comedy section has received enthusiastic response, but a letter I received from a mom in Ottawa deeply moved me. Kristen Thompson sent a letter after reading my story about Jungle Jim Jerome, comedian extraordinaire.

I will let the letter speak for itself. I deeply thank Kristin for this moving story about her wonderful kids, and her feelings about a certain comedian named Jim Jerome.



Loved loved loved your story about the indomitable Jungle Jim Jerome. Although you know Jim as a funny man…I happen to know a much different side of him.

But first, I’ll have to tell you about me and my family, before I can tell you about our relationship with Jim.

My name is Kristen Thompson. I am the wife of one. The mom of two. Our son, Kieran was born with a profoundly rare condition called Bladder and Cloacal Extrophy. This literally means his bladder and part of his bowels were on the outside of his body. It’s a medically complex defect and Kieran has, thus far required 46 trips to the operating room to repair this. Some of those surgeries have lasted more than 24 hours!

To add to this, our only other child, our daughter Merighan, is terminally ill with a very rare metabolic disease called San Filippo syndrome (completely unrelated to what Kieran has). Sadly, this disease is 100% fatal. Merighan is now palliative and requires around the clock care.

To say I’ve spent the greater part of my parenting life, living in and out of a hospital…would perhaps be an understatement. And although we call Ottawa home, our children are treated and cared for at The Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto.

When Kieran was 11 years old. He was granted a wish. You know the kind…where kids get to choose whatever it is their hearts desire? But Kieran..was different. He chose to DECLINE the wish. When we asked him why…he told us he’d rather “be a giver, instead of a taker”. In his 11 year old mind, he felt it was better to be giving back.

Giving back to the Hospital for Sick Children. Giving back so his surgeon could create a research endowment fund supporting pediatric urology. Because really?? Who EVER cared about pediatric urology? Kieran, that’s who.

Kieran decided he’d like to organize a golf tournament. He’d already played in a few. And Kieran knew exactly who he needed to MC the tournament – a local radio personality named Jim Jerome.

Thus began a prolific relationship between Jungle and Kieran. With Jungle’s help….Kieran has raised nearly $200,000 for urology research. Research that has, in turn, helped to keep Kieran alive.

We are forever indebted to Jim Jerome. He helped to change the arc of a young boy’s future. How many people own that badge of honor? Well…Jim Jerome does.

With kindest regards,

Kristen Thompson
March 2018


Jim Jerome
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Kyle Gatehouse

A rising star in the entertainment world is a 30-year old crazy red-headed guy, Kyle Gatehouse of Montreal. His recent work includes hostingThe Worst Travel Show, a hilarious spoof series on travel shows. I watched every episode of this show, and it is easily the worst travel show I have ever seen. Nice work, Kyle! I will be featuring his work from time to time inSecrets from the Inside.

Here’s one episode where he is making trouble in Los Angeles.


J.B. Wiley is a stand-up comedian who was raised in Montreal. I have known him since the 1970s where we went to high school together, played football, and laughed our heads off along the way. J.B Wiley was the best football player in Montreal in those days, and one of the most courageous feats I’ve ever seen, was J.B. play his senior varsity football year with a broken ankle. I couldn’t believe it, never mind that he was our team’s most valuable player that year. My secret about J.B. is he is actually James Bradford Wiley, but let’s keep that to ourselves. J.B.Wiley is one of the coolest names I’ve ever heard, and he is one of the most amazing — and funny — guys I know.


A stand-up comedian’s serious message to youngsters: “Follow your dream.”


Thank you for including me in your online magazine, Secrets from the Inside. I feel honored.  

Growing up in Dorval, Quebec, we were very lucky to have such a fantastic community on a number of levels, including sports, where most of us met and friendships were forged.

Teammate or rivals, we were tight friends. These friendships – many that continue to this day – gave us a solid foundation of compassion, commitment, and work ethic. It helped guide the paths we chose in our careers, and gave us the drive to succeed.

I never felt I owed the community anything, but rather compelled to give back what was given to me. I coached countless teams in countless sports, was involved in fundraising for various causes, and even volunteered at a local women’s shelter. That my friend, is a result of growing up in a tight community did for me.

How did I end up being a stand-up comedian?

I was 23, was sitting in a comedy club, and audience members were invited to participate. I had no material rehearsed, and just went off on rants. At the end of the show, the participants came on stage to be judged by applause – and I won!

I told myself this can’t be a way to earn a living. I needed to get a real job, with real pay. For the next two decades, I did just that. But my real passion was comedy, and that feeling in my heart never left me.

In my forties, I finally decided to chase my dream. I took some Improv and comedy classes. The passion for my craft drove me then, and keeps me chasing the dream to this day.  

My message to you young people today would be, if you have ever considered doing comedy … DO IT!

What’s the worse that can happen, you bomb? We all fail many times in our lives, but we learn from it. Just do it.

There is no drug in the world that will ever give you a high like standing in front of a room full of strangers – and killing it. When an audience laughs and claps for you, the feeling is indescribable.

You have to experience it, and I hope you do!

Follow your dream.  

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Jim Jerome

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“Jungle” Jim Jerome, a Canadian comedian and sports radio dude, is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever known. I was thrilled to meet Jim in 2004, during a Wayne Gretzky hockey camp dinner. Wayne invites Jerome to do his schtick, and bring the house down, during these annual hockey camp events.

My secret from the inside about Jungle Jim, is he is true student of his craft. He has researched and digested insider knowledge of The Art of Comedy throughout his career, and applies his “PHD of Funny” to his comedy gigs, radio shows and public appearances.

During the dinner, Jim got on the mic and worked the room, to every table. He wanted to give all 70 hockey campers a greeting…and a diss. I was sitting with Deborah that night (I later found out Jerome memorized us using the visual of my “Little gold glasses, blonde wife”).

Sticking the mic in my face, Jerome asked me if the Gretzky camp was a memorable experience. I quipped that it was a close second to my Wedding Day. Jim took a step back, and ranted “That is bullshit, pal! Bullshit. I’ve never seen any guy walk out of the church, cheering wildly — I’m married! I’m married!”

He brought the house down with that one. Really funny guy.

And he’s been buddies with Gretzky for decades. After Jerome finished his hilarious rounds with the guests, Gretzky returned to the podium. “That was Jim Jerome. I think that’s the sixth time Jim has entertained us here at the camp…and hopefully it was his last.”

I love Canadian humour.