WHITE LAKE–Fourteen can be a tough age for a lot of kids. Most of them just want to fit in and get along. And although young Jason has the same interests as his peers, like football and Will Smith movies, there is one thing that really sets him apart: his health. He was born with a rare genetic disease, ataxia-telangiectasia, which causes his immune system to work poorly and forces him to suffer from recurrent breathing infections. Jason is wheelchair bound and must rely on oxygen and IV antibiotics. But through all his struggles, Jason is still a typical teenager at heart who delights in playing video games, eating Subway sandwiches, and learning all he can about civics in school. “He’s the best kid in the world,” said his mother, Linda. “He goes through so much and he never complains.”
So when Wish Coordinator TJ Whitlock of Kids Wish Network heard about Jason and his only wish to have a recliner of his own to relax in when he’s at home, she didn’t rest until he had a little bit of happiness. Not only did she convince LA-Z-Boy to donate a certificate for Jason to pick out the chair of his choice, but remembering his love of government, she also placed a call to State Representative Mike Kowall’s office and asked him to join in the presentation of Jason’s wish. He graciously accepted. And there were still a few more surprises planned for the big day.
“Jason was so excited when he saw the stretch limo pull up to take us to the galleries,”
Linda said. “He didn’t know TJ had set that up for him.” And when he arrived at the LA-Z-Boy galleries to receive the certificate, Rep. Kowall had a gift of his own to present to Jason: a United States flag that had actually flown at the state capitol. “He couldn’t wait to show it to his civics class when he got back to school,” Linda said. Subway even provided Jason with his favorite sandwiches for lunch on his special day.
“The whole thing was just fabulous,” said Linda. “The chair he picked out just arrived and he loves it. It has a remote lift and it vibrates.” Jason also received a wish box from TJ filled with stuffed animals, rocket tops, a football, and videos. “It was wonderful for him, it was an added bonus on top of everything else he’s gotten,” Linda said. An autographed photo of President and Mrs. Bush should soon be arriving in Jason’s mail that he can now add to his new collection of government memorabilia.
Linda said that unfortunately Jason misses a lot of school because of his illness. “He’s not in pain, so much as uncomfortable all the time,” she said. “But he’s still so happy all the time and very sweet. He’s got an excellent disposition.” And now that he has his new mechanized recliner, when he’s not feeling well and wants to unwind at home, all it will take is the touch of a button to kick up his feet and lounge in luxury. “Kids Wish Network and TJ have just been fabulous to Jason,” Linda said. “Everything was wonderful.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the gracious sponsors who made Jason’s dream come true: LA-Z-Boy, Inc., Subway of White Lake, Carrier Limousine, State Representative Mike Kowall and the White House.
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization whose mission is to grant wishes to children who have life-threatening illnesses. If you know of a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of Kids Wish Network’s wish granting services, please call (813) 891-9374 or toll free at (888) 918-9004. You can also visit Kids Wish Network’s web site at www.kidswishnetwork.org.