The youngest of five children, Jake is a quiet kid who doesn’t complain. Like most young men his age, he enjoys his car and the freedom that driving provides. In his case, a Ford Bronco truck, that he takes on several of the off road trails near his home. However, just a few months prior to the beginning of his senior year at Clayton High School, Jake was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
“It was a shock for the whole family,” says Jake’s dad, Ron. “It was a rough year watching him go through chemo and a couple of major surgeries, but the last six months have been better. After his last surgery, the last two scans and checkups have been really good. The remaining tumors aren’t cancerous. He’s gotten back to work and the outlooks looks good.”
For his wish, Jake wanted to modify his truck so that it could really handle the trails. That’s where Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina and Wilson-based Down East Offroad stepped in. The result was a Line-X protective coating over the entire truck, 4-inch lift kit, new wheels and tires, and an interior clean.
“Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I had a pretty good amount of money saved up to do something like this,” said Jake. “I couldn’t do it obviously. My money ended up going other places, so it means a lot to me.”
“His wish is symbolic for him,” added his dad. “To lose your independence during your senior year is rough. That’s usually a time you want to spread your wings and he was tied to a hospital or the house and lost a lot of that. He was a trooper through it all but its good to see him get his life back and get his truck. It was kind of his focus before he got sick. He had bought it with his own earnings and he planned on fixing it up.
“I can’t even express how thankful we are to Make-A-Wish. I wouldn’t have imagined it two years ago that we would be in this situation, but so much good has come out of it. It’s really changed my whole perspective on life in general.”