Photo courtesy of the Dominate the Day Foundation
Former URI student athlete’s legacy lives on
A non-profit foundation has been founded to honor the legacy of Jordan Sebastian, a former University of Rhode Island student and football player.
Sebastian played on the team from 2011 to 2015, and graduated in 2015 with a degree in English. He started working in the Athletic Department of his high school alma mater, the Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut. At 24, Sebastian was diagnosed with cancer and passed away five months ago.
His family created the Dominate the Day Foundation, a non-profit organization to honor his life and his legacy. As said on the foundations website, to best understand what they are all about you have to learn about Sebastian himself. According to the website, as a little boy he was “loving, adorable, funny and super athletic.” He was also very enthusiastic and worked hard at school and playing sports.
“He was just one of those kids where I didn’t have to tell him to study, work out, lift, read, do homework,” Sebastian’s mother, Liz Johnston, said. “Whatever he did, he tackled it. I don’t know where his drive came from.” She added that Sebastian also motivated everyone and was always there for his friends and family. At URI, his teammates would describe him as selfless and he would always give 110 percent to everything he did. In fact, the name for the foundation came from Sebastian himself.
“It’s how he lived his life,” Johnston said, explaining how “dominate the day” was a phrase he used with his best friend.
Johnston said that it does not matter who you talk to, anyone who knew him would say he was an “incredible human being.”
“He literally was so relentless in everything he did, coupled with his kindness, is his legacy,” she said.
The foundation was set up to continue to carry out what Sebastian was passionate about, coaching, mentoring and teaching kids.
“We want to be that support for those kids who don’t have it at home or for those parents that don’t know that process,” Johnston said. She said that the organization was completely organic in its inception.
“[The] foundation saved my life [and has] given me this reason to keep going,” she said. “It’s my way to sort of continue to do something for him and do the things he didn’t get to do.”
However, startups like this cost money for resources, overhead, interviews and more. Johnston said they are planning to do a lot of programming starting in the summer and hope, in some capacity, to start the programs in September.
To help raise money to help the Dominate the Day foundation, Fifth and Ninth, a Rhode Island based company, donated 500 iPhone cases to the foundation in Sebastian’s memory.
The creative director at Fifth and Ninth, Bryce McGillivray, was also a friend of Sebastian’s at URI. She described Sebastian, saying that he was “always so funny, so witty, so hilariously sarcastic.” McGillivray said that Sebastian had reached out to her when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, always checking in on her, giving her motivation and positive thoughts.
“He didn’t have to do that,” she said. “I didn’t see him since college.” McGillivray added that she had the “unfortunate opportunity” to reciprocate the kindness. When she heard about his passing, she reached out to his mom to get these cases to them.
The cases display Dominate the Day’s logo, a stick figure lifting weights with Sebastian’s phrase “dominate the day.” The logo was created by Sebastian himself, wanting the phrase to be able to be applied to anything someone is doing.
“On top of everything else he gave us, it felt like here’s this image and this logo you can have that works in every setting,” said Johnson.
One hundred percent of the proceeds made off of the cases will be going to the foundation and to helping children in need pay for sports camps, tutoring and mentoring.
“I’m hoping we can make a bigger impact at URI,” McGillivray said. “Jordan’s legacy is a lot of what URI instills in their students.”
The foundation has also planned a 5K race for June 3 in West Haven, Connecticut and it is shaping up to be a bigger event than originally planned. The purpose of the event is to get the community the Foundation will be serving involved. They are working to have people from all parts of Sebastian’s life to volunteer for the race, to take part in the race or even help after. In fact, some of Sebastian’s former teammates from are going to be going and helping give out the medals.
To learn more about Sebastian, the foundation, its events or to purchase a case, you can go to www.dominatethedayfoundation.com. You can also find the cases at Fifth and Ninth’s website www.fifthandninth.com