3.5 years ago we moved up here to this small Northern California town and I didn’t know a single person. Not a soul but my husband and my then 8 month old son. I was scared, nervous about making friends, desperate to find people like me, people with kids, people who were fun and awesome and well, frankly… just like us… *grin*
Then we met them. And they were pretty damn cool. Fun and young and totally crazy when they wanted to be, big on sports and camping and outdoor stuff and just plain awesome, all around cool people. And in meeting them, we met him.
Internet… this is Jack. Jack is a rockstar… and while we met him as a baby, now he is a super cool almost-four year old who loves to be outside, loves to play with his little brother and LOVES him some Wiggles. Many a time I’ve seen him dancing his heart out to them, rocking out without a care in the world. He’s spunky, he’s wild and he has Down Syndrome.
John and Angi aren’t just parents. They are a force in this world. With Jack’s diagnosis they jumped in with both feet into the DS community. They raise money, chair events, provide information and outreach for people who have children with DS and for friends looking for more information. They advocate for Jack with a zealous fervor. But honestly, once you meet him? He advocates for himself with his amazing personality and love. I’ve been lucky enough to get a few kisses from this kid and I tell you what… he’s a charmer.
But a little known fact outside of the DS community is that children with Down Syndrome have a ten to twenty-fold higher chance of getting Leukemia in their lifetime. So each year they test, waiting the hours until they hear that he is in the clear and ready to rock and roll as usual.
This year wasn’t usual.
Three days ago Jack was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a highly treatable form of the disease, but leukemia nonetheless. They are looking at years of treatments, hospital stays and chemotherapy.
But they are strong. And he is strong. And they are going to KICK this disease in the ass. And we want to help them.
Here are people who have spent years pouring themselves back into their community. Years giving to everyone around them. Years advocating for their DS community and for the community of all people with special needs.
Will you help us help them? There will be days of missed work, crazy hospital bills and time away from their other son. They have only asked their community for love and support. But I think we can do more.
And while they marvel at how their community has rallied around them, we, their friends, aren’t surprised at all. For I truly believe when you put that much AWESOME out into the world, people will only want to give it right back to you.
And these people deserve SO.MUCH.AWESOME.
If you’re interested in making a donation to Jack and his treatment, click on the photo below and it will take you to their Give Forward site. Even if you can’t give money, support and virtual hugs from around the internet are also appreciated.