Fundraisers for family whose child was diagnosed with deadly disease

Published 2:09 pm Friday, October 21, 2011

By  Stephen Dawkins | Assistant Managing Editor

Justin and Erica Jones need all the help they can get.

Fortunately, friends and relatives in Jemison and surrounding areas are doing what they can.

Justin and Erica’s 13-month-old son, Jacob, was diagnosed with the deadly Tay-Sachs disease, and local fundraisers are being organized to help cover the costs associated with treatment.

Lauren Mitchell, a friend of the family, organized a yard sale for this weekend to raise money.

$800 worth of merchandise was sold Friday, and the yard sale will continue from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday off Highway 31, in between City Limit Package store and the old drive-in movie site.

Mitchell said the yard sale stayed busy Friday, and a local woman having a sale of her own ended up donating about 30 boxes worth of merchandise to the cause.

The Jones family leaves this weekend for Durham, N.C., to seek treatment at Duke University Hospital.

“As soon as they started talking about research and testing and the procedures that would be possible for the disease, instantly I started putting this together,” Mitchell said of the yard sale.

For information about the yard sale or donations, call Mitchell at 217-2360.

Jennifer Taylor, Erica’s cousin, has also organized a fundraiser, to be held from noon until 10 p.m. on Nov. 19 at the Jemison City Hall auditorium.

Taylor said the event would include food plates, games and facepainting for children, a silent auction and even a live band to close out the night.

Donations will be taken for plates, in addition to money raised through the auction of gift baskets, WNBA autographed memorabilia and other items.

“We’re going to donate some of the proceeds to the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases,” Taylor said.

A bank account has been set up in the parents’ name to benefit Jacob at ServisFirst Bank for those wishing to donate. For more information, call Taylor at 688-6929.

Tay-Sachs is a condition where a natural protein builds up in cells, especially nerve cells in the brain. With the infantile version of the disease, the child usually dies by age 4 or 5.

Mitchell asked for prayers for Jacob.

“We’re praying for Jacob to be that miracle,” she said.