Jonathan’s Story

The Iacuaniello Family Remembers Jonathan

Jonathan was only 23 when myocarditis tragically took him from his family.

In loving memory of Jonathan – Ken, Nancy, & Kristen

Jonathan IacuaneielloJonathan Kenneth Iacuaniello was born in San Diego, CA and was a life-long resident of Escondido. He graduated from Escondido High School in 2006. At the time of his death (June 4, 2011), Jonathan was working at Starbucks inside an Albertsons Grocery Store, and was just two classes away from completing his Associates Degree at the local Junior College. Jonathan was still dabbling with what he wanted to be early on his goal had been to become a History Teacher. More recently he had gone on a ride-along with the local Police Department, and had applied for a Dispatcher position (he had an invitation to test for a Dispatcher position with City of Carlsbad in his incoming emails). Jonathan enjoyed gaming, movies, and reading. He had a passion for his history and cinema classes. He was good-hearted, determined, and extremely imaginative. Jonathan was adored by his one and only sibling, his little sister Kristen, who throughout the years endeavored to do just about anything and everything her big brother did. He had the love and support of his parents Ken and Nancy, and of his extended family. And he had the chance to experience true love, with his Stevie, of whom he was with for nearly 7 years.

Sometime in the Spring of 2011, Jonathans girlfriend Stevie recalls him telling her that he was experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath. But because this was when Albertsons was pending labor negotiations and threatening to picket, Jonathan told her he thought it was just anxiety. Jonathan said he also noticed his chest pains got worse when he had Monster type drinks, so he decided to discontinue them which seemed to help. When the chest pains subsided, he decided he was OK.

June 1st Jonathan called his Mom at work and said he felt like he was coming down with the flu, and asked her if she would bring home some Gatorade. Since his sister had tested positive for Strep a few weeks prior, and Stevie had a sore throat and ear infection about a week prior, the first thing she did was check his throat. No spots and no sore throat per Jonathan just achy with a low grade temperature. He said he would stay home from work the next day (June 2nd) and get some extra rest.

June 3rd – Jonathan returned to work, but still wasnt feeling well and was coughing up some blood. They suggested he go home, but he insisted he was OK to finish his shift. He promised a friend at work that he would see a Doctor the next day if he didnt feel better (and his insurance cards were found out on his desk the next day). He returned home briefly to meet up with his girlfriend, and then they met up with another friend for dinner. Twice during dinner Jonathan became ill, but he decided he felt well enough to go on to a movie. Although he was running a temperature and didnt feel well during the movie, he looked better and said he felt better on the way home. When he and Stevie returned home at a little after midnight, Jonathan told Stevie he was tired as he hadnt slept well the night before, and he went to bed. His sister recalls hearing him get up once during the night (around 4 am) to go to the bathroom, but she didnt see him or talk to him.

About 9:30 am on Saturday morning (June 4th), Albertsons called the house trying to reach Jonathan, because he had not arrived for his 9:00 am shift, and they had been unable to reach him on his cell phone. His Mom took the home phone to his room, where she found him in bed. It was evident immediately that something was very wrong – Jonathan was pale, unresponsive, rigid, and not breathing. The family called 9-1-1, but were sadly coming to the realization that it was probably not going to make a difference. The EMT and County Medical Examiner confirmed that Jonathan had died several hours earlier.

An autopsy was performed June 6th, and initial results came back as sudden death due to Myocarditis, pending final pathology. The final autopsy confirmed Myocarditis, probably viral etiology, with no evidence of fibrosis (indicating that it was probably acute vs. chronic).

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Our family knew nothing about Myocarditis prior to June 2011. Now we know that there have been many other victims. And that there are many people who are living daily with Myocarditis, some fighting for their very lives. It is our hope that continued research and increased knowledge will help to provide the best possible outcome for those unfortunate enough to be struck by this disease in the future.

Our lives were never the same once Jonathan came into it – from the adorable baby boy with the enormous blue eyes, to the tall and handsome young man in the Starbucks apron he enriched our lives. And our lives will never be the same without him. It is painful to lose our son so young, and difficult to move forward without him. But every day we try to remember what we had – 23 wonderful years with Jonathan. What a blessing that is in itself. And we try to find ways to honor his memory. A local School District has established a Scholarship Fund in Jonathans name, and has already awarded a number of scholarships. And we continue to make donations to various organizations in memory of our son.

We love you Jonathan, and miss you every single day – Ken, Nancy & Kristen

Written In Loving Memory of Jonathan (July 27, 1987 – June 4, 2011)