Jett Foundation Provides New Wheels for Georgia Brothers Living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

July 1, 2024

Victor (23), Christian (18), and Alan Cruz (16) are brothers from Gainesville, Georgia, each living with a Duchenne muscular dystrophy diagnosis. For many years, as the boys’ bodies have progressed in the disease, the Cruz family has faced many barriers in their day-to-day life, particularly transportation.

The two older brothers use power wheelchairs to get around while Alan, who also lives with autism, uses a manual wheelchair. The vehicle they have used for a long time can only fit one wheelchair, resulting in the other two chairs being pulled in a trailer after the boys are manually lifted into the vehicle. “Traveling with the boys and lifting them each time became unsafe and nearly impossible,” says their father, Martin. “We even sometimes use public transportation, which is unreliable and not equipped for their chairs.”

The family could not bear to witness their sons becoming too uncomfortable to leave the house and longed to give them the independence they deserve, which resulted in them applying to Jett Foundation’s Jett Giving Fund. As participants in the Accessible Vehicle Fund branch of the Jett Giving Fund, the Cruz family fundraised half the cost of their vehicle before Jett Foundation stepped in to cover remaining costs and purchase the van.

We are grateful to Jackson EMC Foundation and FOCUS of Georgia, who assisted the Cruz family during fundraising efforts, donating generous amounts toward their financial goal. Jackson EMC Foundation has provided funding for community-based programs throughout the 10 counties served by Jackson EMC. FOCUS offers wraparound programs of support to families of children, teens, and young adults who are medically fragile or have developmental/physical disabilities.

On June 20, 2024, Victor, Christian, Alan, and their parents celebrated the freedom to leave the house safely as a family, as well as attend necessary medical appointments and more. Joined by their family, friends, and Jett Foundation staff, the Cruz family enjoyed the delivery of their accessible van with happy faces and a sense of relief.

“This accessible van is life changing for our family,” shares Martin. “We will now have unencumbered travel and this will significantly reduce the physical tax on me and my wife’s bodies. We are very grateful to Jett Foundation who has gone above and beyond throughout this process.”

The family looks forward to visiting Toronto, Canada later this summer, their first trip together as a family in years.

Emily Hubert, Jett’s Development Events Manager, joined the Cruz family for this celebration and shares, “I am incredibly excited for the Cruz family and will never forget the smiles on their faces after pulling up to their new van. To see them arrive in separate vehicles due to space/safety and leave together as one unit was a very special thing to experience.”

To assist families impacted by Duchenne through the Accessible Vehicle Fund, Emergency Fund, and Equipment Assistance Fund, you can donate today or reach out to Maura Carroll, Director of Development, at [email protected] to learn more about sponsorship opportunities.

We are very grateful to our dedicated sponsors and donors who help make the Jett Giving Fund possible: Cure Dale’s Duchenne, Finn’s Friends, the Flatley Foundation, the Killian Family, Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, Kindness Over Muscular Dystrophy, Michael’s Cause, Ryan’s Quest, PJ’s Protocol, and Sarepta Therapeutics.

If you or someone you know is in need of support or would like more information on our Jett Giving Fund, please visit www.jettfoundation.org/giving-fund.

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Your gift helps Jett Foundation provide programming and opportunities, such as Camp Promise, to many families impacted by Duchenne muscular dystrophy each year.

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