Yard sales benefit local family

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Erica, Jacob and Justin Jones are thankful for the support from the community who has helped them deal with Jacob who suffers from Tay-Sachs.

Although Erica Jones, 24, is faced with daily challenges of making sure her son Jacob is sufficiently taken care of, her main goal is to make sure he is happy.

“As a mother, I want him to not experience pain, or fear or feel that he is different than others,” Jones said. “I want him to feel everything a normal child would and ultimately I want him to be happy.”

Jones and her husband Justin, 25, are parents to 29-mont- old Jacob who suffers from Tay-Sachs, a rare genetic disorder of the nervous system.

Jones said the disease builds up fatty tissue around the brain causing pressure on the brain stem resulting in lack of memory, including not remembering to breathe.

“When he was nine months old, he was able to sit up but he has since lost that ability and you have to almost hold him like an infant now even though he weighs about 40 pounds,” Jones said.

Jacob was diagnosed with the disease in early October 2011 when he was 14 months old.

The disease will eventually cause loss of sight or hearing and will take away the ability to speak. Those diagnosed with Tay-Sachs have a life expectancy of three to five years.

Currently, there is no cure for Tay-Sachs, but treatments are available for support and comfort in Minnesota.

“The only place we can go to get the treatments are in Minnesota so we go every three months,” Jones said. “The medication has shown some great progress. He is starting to reach for things and babble sounds.”

Due to the constant traveling back and forth, Jones’ mother Bette Lowery decided to organize several yard sales in the Thorsby area to raise money for medical costs for the family.

“The support from the community has been incredible,” Jones said. “When we first found out Jacob had this disorder we felt very lonely because this disease is very rare,” Jones said. “People from the community really stepped up and did research to learn more about the disease and everyone has really stepped up to the plate supporting us.”

The original yard sale was Feb. 1 and 2 near the Bennett Nursery on US Highway 31 between Thorsby and Lomax and raised more than $2,500.

“It was a wonderful event and a great success,” Lowery said. “The community showed a tremendous support for our family.”

Lowery said the support was overwhelming resulting in the yard sale extending to Feb. 9 and Feb. 16 at the same location.

“We still have items that people donated and we are still accepting donations for the next two weekends so if anyone is interested let me know,” Lowery said.

Jones said the money from the yard sales has been a tremendous blessing for her family due to continued medical costs.

“The medical bills at times can be overwhelming,” Jones said. “We have been extremely touched by everyone in the community that has helped or continues to help our family. I have always said that my desire is for Jacob to be a happy little boy and the community has stepped up and shown happiness to him which in turn makes him happy.”

Anyone interested in donating items for the yard sale can contact Lowery at (205) 389-2220, or donations can be made at Servis1st Bank in Birmingham.