LaShawn Encarnacion was born and raised in The Bronx, New York and subsequently relocated to San Diego, California. The very inspirational Encarnacion – who was of Puerto Rican heritage – was unfortunately part of 5 per cent of the nations most unhealthiest individuals courtesy of an array of combined severe health complications, which in turn led to medical professionals and doctors in San Diego, California adamantly refusing to take both Encarnacion and his very own health seriously.

Loyal people are hard to find. Loyal people who respect you and your place even harder” Encarnacion said when talking about loyalty and respect.

 LaShawn Encarnacion’s well-documented severe health implications featured in various media websites and a variety of network television news shows throughout San Diego, California. Moreover, Encarnacion fought a litany of chronic health problems which included extreme morbid obesity and other problematic health-related issues for many years and the strong-willed New Yorker sincerely hoped and prayed that the Patient Improvement Health Initiative would assist him with greater care.

When San Diego-based media outlet KPBS questioned Encarnacion about his highly severe health complications in November 2014,  Encarnacion stated that he suffered from quote “Type 2 diabetes, extreme morbid obesity, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure. And that’s just the physical stuff“, whilst further adding “And then, of course, we go into the depression. My official diagnosis is borderline personality disorder.”

Encarnacion had a series of very tumultuous periods and setbacks throughout his life, including being admitted into an emergency department every three or four months, as well as being hospitalized.

Furthermore, LaShawn Encarnacion had health insurance, but experienced red tape and unlawful denials of health care. However, Encarnacion sought help in Social worker Alicia Asaro who greatly helped Encarnacion receive the rightful benefits he was legally entitled to as well as assisting Encarnacion with greater health control. In a meeting in 2014, Alicia Asaro suggested that the brave LaShawn Encarnacion would need to walk with a cane. 

LaShawn Encarnacion fought the United States Federal Government in numerous litigation battles, which added further intense pressure on him in his personal life, yet Encarnacion never lost his warmly infectious smile, his incredible zest for life as well as his deep compassion for others.

In life, LaShawn Encarnacion gravitated to underdogs and those less fortunate.  The highly passionate and determined New Yorker exuded a young spirit contradictory of his 40 years although Encarnacion was very eloquent, well-spoken and intelligent and was very well-rounded on a variety of subjects. Furthermore, Encarnacion counted his blessings and would offer moral support and advice with the purest of confidentiality to others when they required strength and motivation in times of need and adversity.

In the chaotic midst of his well-storied personal woes and internal issues relating to his highly severe chronic health ailments, LaShawn Encarnacion had an intensely strong passion for Broadcast Journalism and Sports writing; Encarnacion would also create compelling blogs about positive themes. LaShawn Encarnacion wrote a very poignant and inspirational column entitled “Bullied But Never Broken” for the motivational Bully Project.

“Bullied But Never Broken” by LaShawn Encarnacion

It is no secret that being bullied has taken the lives of a number of people, especially young people. I myself even attempted suicide on a few occasions, luckily God was protecting me at those times. From my days as a kid in elementary school, I was always picked on because I acted what was perceived to be “different.”

I was sensitive, caring and compassionate to others and that was not normal and one particular student hated how I was. Gianni, a taller black kid who made it his mission to make my life a living nightmare both on campus and off. From taking my lunch money to pushing me off my bike on my way home, Gianni tried to get me to react to him. But I never gave him the satisfaction because I had so much anger inside of me from when I was physically abused as a toddler.

If I let it go and retaliated against Gianni, I could have killed him. So instead of lashing out, my mom and dad enrolled me at Fred Vallari’s school of Martial Arts, where I would go five days a week after school and eventually, become an assistant instructor as a late kid/early teen. It taught me discipline, control, focus and determination.

Same pattern followed me into Junior High and High School. I was seen as a “freak” because I acted so differently. Teammates from the football team would bully me in the locker room, on the basketball courts during PE class and of course the vicious rumors that were spread did not help my case either.

I spent most of my lunches playing poker with another person who was outcasted by the school and then later we played poker with a History teacher (for no money of course). Even in my adulthood I continue to be bullied because I am such a caring, compassionate, honest person whose integrity is 100% intact because I want it to be that way.

I am told every day I leave and travel on public transport to “Go kill myself.” Women and children point and make fun at me, to the point where now I am weary of leaving my own apartment. But I still go out when I must, to pay rent, get groceries, etc… but all the events have caused long lasting damage that is always in repair.

I continue to be who I am not just for myself but to protect and keep the legacy of my adoptive parents alive and well, to make them proud of the son they raised me to be.

LaShawn Encarnacion was legally adopted as a child by Caucasian parents and often spoke highly about his loving parents unconditional love which they provided him with when growing up. Encarnacion was largely beloved in the freelance sports journalism community, especially on social media where his fun-loving nature, unique wry wit and caring attitude deemed him both a gentle giant and more importantly – a true gentleman. Encarnacion had many supportive colleagues, loyal associates and great friends via social media who looked beyond his personal struggles and physical appearance to discover a rarity of a human being – unselfish, caring, nurturing, honest and a strong individual who fully lived his life with full integrity and honor.

Two independent sports radio shows in the Midwest – in Detroit, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois – fully dedicated shows in Encarnacion’s loving memory thereafter it has been announced that Encarnacion passed away in his apartment in San Diego, California on January 2016 due to health-related causes. At Encarnacion’s funeral in February 2016, many individuals travelled from out of state to pay tribute and their final farewells to Encarnacion at a Mass in Christ The King Church in Stockton, California.

He knew his stuff when it came to sports and he should have soared,” said Laura Castaneda, the chair of the Communication Department and one of his former instructors, “But his health issues were a constant battle and it spoiled his dreams.”

LaShawn Encarnacion officially served as City Times professional sports editor in San Diego, California until his chronic health issues forced him to abandon City College four years ago; Encarnacion graduated from Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California. LaShawn Encarnacion also co-hosted a sports radio show with New York-born professional sports journalist Jason Feirman on FOX Sports syndicated Route 4 Sports in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A former classmate, Antonio Marquez, said LaShawn Encarnacion’s nature was to inspire and motivate others in life, particularly underdogs.

He didn’t just choose the person that was in the limelight, he would look for the underdog as well and tell their story. His heart and soul went to the writing, and that’s one of the reasons as why he was a great sports editor.” commented Marquez to the City Times.

For many years, Laura Castaneda was informed of LaShawn Encarnacion’s fierce and well-storied battles against the United States Federal Government due to financial aid issues and doctors whom Encarnacion believed didn’t care. Castaneda spoke about Encarnacion’s undying resilience and unwavering spirit irrespective of the many major obstacles and problematic challenges which stood before him.

He never took no as an answer,” Castaneda said. “He wrote letters, he asked me for letters to his doctors. I think he got so worn down with people telling him ‘no,’ and writing appeals, that it just simply proved to be too much. He took on the government with financial aid issues. And he took on doctors who he believed didn’t care. I think he wrote to vent, and I’m proud of him for that.”

In the final weeks of his inspirational life, LaShawn Encarnacion discovered that he was partially blind and became a recluse in his apartment in San Diego, California although it was sports reporting and sports broadcast journalism which effectively proven to be a sanctuary and escape from a hellish reality for the late Hispanic-American writer. Sports writing and Broadcast Journalism consistently inspired Encarnacion to get up out of bed each day and he was a true craftsman who consistently provided a high volume of impressive content and commentary live on-air. One unnamed sports reporter in New York nicknamed LaShawn Encarnacion “The Machine” due to his impressive work-rate and highly detailed work, which saw the highly  passionate Hispanic-American deliver brand new content near daily with very consistent results.

LaShawn Encarnacion’s unique and fact-filled sporting viewpoints differentiated from established reporters in mainstream sports media and was affectionately dubbed “The Dark Knight of Sports”; Encarnacion later hosted a sports podcast entitled “The Dark Knight of Sports” in 2015 irrespective of his so-so breath control due to his health, which led him to pre-recording shows to ensure that he could catch his breath and consume water to improve his overall performance. It was Encarnacion’s perfectionism and dedicated level of detail and penchant for factual data and statistics which allowed the intermission water breaks during pre-recorded shows to transpire as he would never give less than what the audience would come to expect.

However, LaShawn Encarnacion’s immense knowledge and intellect was very adept in the sports realm and others instantly gravitated to him in part due to his great character and incredible mental strength; LaShawn Encarnacion was well-versed in NBA, NFL, MLB, NCAA, NHL and WWE, whilst also covering UFC and soccer later in his life.

“The fact is I am falling apart physically and it is beating me down mentally and emotionally, now to the point where nothing any of you say will calm me down.  These situations were the ones I needed mom and dad for. They were the ONLY ones who could get through to me because they were patient enough to endure the obvious rough road that lie ahead in my road to recovery.  Most would just turn and run away distancing themselves.” whilst Encarnacion also stated “Hence why I have done what I needed to do. Distance myself from all my family and friends. None of you have that level of patience to endure the tirades, anger and frustration I am going through right now…and you shouldn’t have to go through it anyway. I have deleted all my social media accounts so as to not allow provocation to enter, making me go off the handles worse than I am already. I have my weekly therapy sessions and have made my primary care doctor aware of my blindness.”

The final and indeed sad weeks of LaShawn Encarnacion’s life saw him become extremely cynical and jaded although it is by no means the incredible legacy and tale of the late San Diego sports reporter. In a personal email issued only weeks prior to his untimely death, Encarnacion conveniently wrote about how life had become too overwhelming and felt as though the battle was indeed finally over.

As I just turned 40, I wanted to again say thank you for all the help and referrals you have given.  While none have been able to help and my health continues to fail me (physically), I have come to accept that I am in a 100% losing battle because of my lack of financial power. But that does NOT mean that I am not grateful to everyone who has tried to help, which includes you. So thank you.” whereas Encarnacion also added “I acknowledge and respect your feelings of constant frustration. Just know that I am just as frustrated as you are and am trying to alleviate some of your frustration by keeping as much distance between us as possible. My problems are mine alone to deal with. No one else.”

Out of the frying pan and into the fire, LaShawn Encarnacion had the gumption and temerity to take on the United States Federal Government, tackle a multitude of severely chronic and morbid health complications, weather suicidal thoughts and depression, tackle intense bullyism, experience a lack of work courtesy of his health, living with the thoughts of being abused as a child and much more throughout his bittersweet albeit inspirational symphony of life.

Be that as it may, LaShawn Encarnacion never ever allowed anything or anyone to defeat him in any capacity. The defiant Encarnacion – who flatly refused to be placed in a care home – never took the easy way out when others would have done so.

Above all else, LaShawn Encarnacion highly represented the proud Latino community and of course himself with the ultimate class of a true champion.  Encarnacion largely fought daily for what he truly believed in and did not back down until justice was served.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
W| By Dean Perretta                                                       @DeanPerretta
 
 

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