Congratulations to Theo and the Balajadia family from Cape Cod, MA on receiving their accessible van through our Jett Giving Fund’s Accessible Vehicle Fund! On November 6th, Jett Foundation staff joined an intimate group of the Balajadia’s friends and family as they celebrated the arrival of their new van.
12-year-old Theo loves superheroes and himself is the epitome of a hero. Theo has undergone hospital stays and championed through different types of medical assistance for cerebral palsy. At seven-years-old, Theo was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The Balajadia family adapted and got him the help in school he needed. Theo seemed to be coming along verbally, as he started saying words and sentences. However, at age nine, he started showing signs of loss of mobility and he could no longer get off the floor by himself or climb the bus stairs.
Theo’s Duchenne diagnosis was misdiagnosed for 10 years. At first, his family was told by doctors and his physical therapist that it wasn’t anything to be concerned about, and most likely a growth spurt trying to keep up with his cerebral palsy. As his symptoms worsened, Theo switched neurologists and ultimately went to a muscular dystrophy clinic. Clinicians there confirmed Theo had Duchenne.
The diagnosis was earth-shattering for the family, but once again they adapted. Now, just one year after receiving their diagnosis, the Balajadias are a pillar of strength, supported by friends and family and their Cape Cod community.
As transitioning Theo from his chair to the car became increasingly difficult, the family turned to Jett Foundation. They applied to the Accessible Vehicle Fund, a branch of our Jett Giving Fund program for families impacted by Duchenne in need of reliable, safe transportation. Theo and his family raised over half the funds needed for the accessible van with help from generous local donors, family, and friends. When the family met their goal, Jett Foundation covered the remaining expenses to help the family purchase the van.
On Saturday, the family was all smiles behind their masks, showing off their new set of wheels to the community of supporters who helped make the van’s arrival possible.
“If he could, Theo would say Jett Foundation is a superhero. This community is full of superheroes. This is life-changing. To not have him in pain while trying to move him is everything. We are forever grateful to Jett Foundation; we have no words to express how grateful. We work so hard but would never have been able to afford this van. We absolutely will find a way to pay it forward,” says Diana Balajadia, mom to Theo.
This new van has already improved the quality of life for Theo and his family. “This is awesome. He has loved it from the moment we got it. No more struggling or difficult carrying,” says Theo’s father, Ed.
Jett Foundation is able to help families like the Balajadias through support from our generous Jett Giving Fund sponsors. Ryan’s Hope for a Cure, a Massachusetts Duchenne family foundation, was especially excited to support another local family.
“We were honored to be given the opportunity to partner with the Jett Foundation to help the Balajadia family with the purchase of a new van. The Jett Giving Fund has helped so many families, including our own, and the chance to pay it forward and lighten the load of another Duchenne family brings us great joy,” says Linda Hastings, Ryan’s mother and founder of Ryan’s Hope.
You can help us to support more families through the two branches of Jett Giving Fund. Donate today or learn more about becoming a sponsor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Established in 2017, Jett Giving Fund has helped transform the lives of countless families across the country with over $2.5 million worth of accessible equipment and emergency assistance thanks to the generous support of individual donors, local communities, and major sponsors including Cure Dale’s Duchenne, Sarepta Therapeutics, FibroGen, Ryan’s Hope, the Flatley Foundation, and the Killian Family.