John Ward comes from a big multicultural family in rural Colorado–he has eight siblings and countless nieces, nephews, and cousins. He loves horticulture (which he is currently studying at Front Range Community College), spicy Cajun and Creole food, his boxer dog named Major, Halloween, art, video games, and WWII and horror movies. What he does not love is the 21-year-old van his family has that he is unable to make full use of because he is impacted by Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Duchenne is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. There is currently no cure.
Life with Duchenne comes with daily challenges. One major challenge: transportation. John said, “I wanted to have a reliable way to get to school, see extended family in the Midwest, and just be safe.” His old transportation was just another obstacle that he had to overcome to make his goals reality. Accessible vans are necessary, but wildly unaffordable for a lot of families who need them. John’s mom Ginny works full-time and looks after their big family, and putting up the tens of thousand of dollars needed for one of these vans was not possible.
But then John and Ginny heard that they had been accepted into Jett Foundation’s Jett Giving Fund, a matching gift program that helps to alleviate some of the financial burden that families face when purchasing accessible equipment. After several months of fundraising and raising awareness, John and his family finished fundraising their half of the nearly $30,000 van. Jett Foundation has matched the remaining 50 percent to cover the remaining cost of the van.
Now that he has a safe vehicle in which he can actually see out the windows, he is looking forward to travelling all over the US, visiting National Parks and both oceans, and connecting with family along the way. He is also grateful that he can transport others with mobility issues–including his young nephew who was diagnosed with Duchenne in the Spring.
John’s efforts were supported by his community in Colorado and the Duchenne network all over the country. It was one of those families who found the van that John would receive. In his own words, “life is good.”
To help families like the Wards, please consider supporting the Jett Giving Fund with a gift or sponsorship; visit our Jett Giving Fund website today at jettfoundation.org/jett-giving-fund.