TJF Exclusive Interview: Joe Mekan Talks GOTJ 17 Charity Auction
As juggalos, we are often seen as useless members of society and in the eyes of the whacked out FBI, gang members. However, if you are truly Family, you know better than that. In fact, we have more love and compassion than most people do. This has continuously become more clear over the years, but one recent action of generosity has created a positive stir within the juggalo community. At Gathering Of The Juggalos 17, the charity auction that was held was meant to raise funds for a fellow juggalo in need. That juggalo is Joe Mekan, a strong young man with the hope of being able to walk again. Now that the Gathering is over, he was kind enough to partake in an exclusive interview with us about his journey and what the juggalo family means to him.
How did you come to require the surgery that the auction held at Gathering 17 will fund?
Joe: “Well, September 9th, 2013, I was camping with some friends and we had basically pulled an all nighter. So we were still awake by the time the sun was coming up, and we decided to find a good spot to watch the sunrise. So being the wild careless teenager I was, I found a nice tall tree to climb. I made it about 35 ft up the tree and started swinging the trunk back and forth, using my weight to flex the tree. Eventually I went too far, breaking the entire tree trunk. I didn’t have time to really react so I came down with the top half of the tree and landed on two surface roots, shattering my T10 and L1 vertebrae and severely damaging my spinal cord. So I was air lifted to the hospital where they did a spinal fusion and told me that I would most likely never walk again.”
That must’ve taken a lot of courage to get through something like that and continue with your life, despite the loss of ability to walk. How did you find the strength to move on?
Joe: “To be honest, I don’t exactly know. At first I think the amount of drugs and painkillers that they had me on kind of clouded my brain so I didn’t really mind. But even after all of the drugs I just stayed positive. I guess I just didn’t see a reason to let it get me down. For one, I was lucky to be alive, and for two I knew that there was still so much that I wanted to do with my life. I have a bad day here and there, but for the most part my life is still great. And I look forward to helping others in my same situation after I do receive my treatment. Life goes on.”
I really commend you for keeping a positive outlook, especially as it seems a lot of people can’t find it in themselves to do so. As far as music goes, a lot of juggalos find it easier to deal with their problems by blasting some ICP, Twiztid, ABK, etc… Does this help you in any way?
Joe: “Absolutely! I had serious anger problems my whole childhood and as soon as I found ICP and started looking into wicked shit I found I had an outlet. While everyone at school and at home was pissing me off and making me feel like an outsider I always knew that I could chill with my FAM, bump some wicked shit and instantly feel better about being me. It still works exactly the same today. But instead of a pissed off kid, I’m disabled. Still viewed as an outsider, still get weird looks, still have super depressing days once in a while. But I can still always go to the music and get away from all that!”
So was Gathering 17 your first? Also, how did you get involved with the charity auction?
Joe: “Yeah it was my first. My mom actually had emailed the psychopathic office and almost immediately got a reply from Jumpsteady. She had simply asked for a shout out, for them to share our story on social media and what not. But Jumpsteady quickly offered to donate 25% of the proceeds from the Psychopathic Auction, and he offered four free tickets to the GOTJ 17. So I had absolutely no excuse not to make it this year.”
That’s incredible. Acts such as that really show what this Family is about, and I’m glad that you were able to make it. How are the plans for your surgery going as of now?
Joe: “We still have a lot of money to raise before plans are actually set in motion. But we are trying to work every possible angle in order to raise the funds we need. So in the meantime I am trying to remain as healthy and as positive as possible and hopefully we get there sooner than later.”
Well, l I’m glad that you have at least begun getting closer to your goal. I know that I speak for all of us here at TJF when I say that we hope you’ll be walking again as soon as possible. Is there anything else you would like to say to your juggalo family?
Joe: “Mad thanks to anyone and everyone who stopped to show love and support at the Gathering this year, it was a pleasure to meet all of you! Thanks to all who spent their hard earned money at the auction, it helps more than you know! I love every one of you crazy ass individuals and I can’t wait to see you next year. Whoop whoop MMFWCL!!!”
True Juggalo Family would like to give our sincerest thanks to Joe, as well as to Psychopathic for helping bring his much needed surgery closer to reality. Whoop Whoop!