Jens Kask – remembering an amazing friend
I just got a call from my ex Fredrik, telling me that a mutual friend of ours passed away yesterday (sunday).
I was 10, had just moved to Sweden. Jens was in the same class as me. A sweet boy. Very funny, strong and really cute. He had a charismatic personality and a strong body with very energetic legs. in every sport he did, he managed well. I imagine his good physical condition was what saved him that fateful day when Jens and his friends decided to climb on top of a parked electrical commuter train resulting in 16 000 volts of electricity passing through his tiny body. Doctors gave him 2% chance of surviving. Jens lost both his legs and burned large parts of his body. It took two whole years before he had recovered enough to leave the hospital.
He was 10 years old when this happened. It is hard for an adult to understand when tragic things like this happen. My mom, teacher’s reactions… so sad and chocked. For us kids…trying to comprehend something like this … it was just so very unreal.
But Jens did survive, I met him many years after the accident. We were about 17 and we became friends again instantly. Jens was exactly the way I remember him as a kid. Happy, funny, strong personality and very sweet. Our main common interest was rock music. He had introduced the group The Sweet to me back in 1976 and in the 80s hard rock was bigger than ever. Concerts every week and new albums on vinyl out every month. So we went to concerts together and discussed music and just hung out over the years.
• I took this picture of Steve Harris and Jens backstage at an Iron Maiden concert Nov 2 – 1984
• The picture of us is during a Krux concert at Harry B James club – Jan 29 – 2009
Jens has been involved in disability sports since the accident, he has participated in swimming, athletics, sitting volleyball and sledge hockey, where he enjoyed his greatest success, including as captain of the Swedish Olympic team. He has won one Paralympic gold medal and two bronze. During the opening ceremony in Vancouver, it was Jens who carried the flag for Sweden. It was his eighth Paralympic Games, five winter and three summer. None of this came as surprise to people. That was just the way he was. A fighter and a winner all the way through.
Yesterday he suffered a heart attack and passed away. Just like that, he is gone : ( And all we have are memories and laughs. Realizing that I had the privilege of knowing one hell of a guy. He will be missed.
My condolences to his brother Marcus, his little daughter Tyra and the rest of his family.