Jett Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, has helped a family from Chattanooga purchase an accessible van through their financial assistance program, Jett Giving Fund.
Nolan Staples, a 14-year-old with Duchenne, and his mom, Misty Swafford, have raised half the funds needed for his $35,000 accessible van through their First Giving Page and through the generosity of the Chattanooga Civitan Children’s Foundation.
Jett Foundation matched the remaining 50 percent to purchase the van for the family. Nolan was presented his van on Thursday.
Soon after Nolan and mom Misty found out their family would get the life-changing van they needed through the Jett Giving Fund program, Misty learned the devastating news: she has breast cancer.
She said, “Every morning, I take Nolan to school. I get him out of his chair and into the car. Then I have to load up the scooter trailer attached to our car with his chair. With my breast cancer diagnosis, I cannot lift. So, what do I do? My 19-year-old daughter has been helping by getting Nolan into the car and, when we get to the school, the principal comes out to the car to help lift him out for me.”
Health insurance often will not cover all specialized medical and accessibility equipment such as scooters, shower chairs, ramps, rotational medical beds, platform lifts, and handicap accessible vans; items needed when suffering from a progressive muscle-wasting disorder. Without this equipment, those with Duchenne struggle to participate in the kinds of activities that most people take for granted, such as going to and from doctor’s appointments, navigating the hallways at school, and going to the mall with friends, officials said.
Christine McSherry, founder of Jett Foundation and mom of a 22-year-old with Duchenne, said, “I know from personal experience that vans, scooters, rotating hospital beds, and stair lifts are vital to improving the quality of life of someone with Duchenne. I also know how incredibly expensive that equipment is, and how little health insurance actually covers.
“We started Jett Giving Fund to try to make life-changing equipment just a little more obtainable for individuals affected by Duchenne.”
Launched last year, the fund has helped transform lives of countless families across the country. To learn more about Jett Giving Fund or to become a sponsor, please visit: https://www.jettfoundation.org/jett-giving-fund/.
About Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Diagnosed during childhood, Duchenne is a progressive neuromuscular disorder that causes a loss of motor, pulmonary, and cardiac function, and premature death. It affects every one in 3,500 live male births and some females. Duchenne has no cure. Children with Duchenne are born seemingly healthy and decline over time, usually losing their ability to walk around the age of 12 and succumbing to the disease in their early to mid-twenties.
About Chattanooga Civitan Children’s Foundation
Established in 1927, the Chattanooga Civitan Children’s Foundation has dedicated itself to serving families of children with special mental, emotional, and physical needs. The organization, comprised of past Civitan Club presidents, assists families in the purchase of wheelchairs, exercise equipment, lifts, accessible vehicles, and more.
About Jett Foundation
Since 2001, Jett Foundation, located in Plymouth, Mass., has worked to find treatments and a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy while improving and enriching the lives of those impacted. Jett Foundation is a registered charity with 501(c)(3) status from the IRS; all donations are tax deductible. www.jettfoundation.org.