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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Teen with Cerebral Palsy Surprised by Justin Timberlake After Superstar Buys Family Wheelchair-Accessible Van

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It’s the dream of many teens to be gifted a car. Jake Stitt, from Morristown, Tennessee, really wanted a set of wheels, and his campaign to get one caught a star’s attention.

Jake, 17, has cerebral palsy, so an accessible car would mean being able to go more places and do more things, including making it to appointments.

A GoFundMe was set up for the Stitts, and $26,000 of the $35,000 goal has been raised so far — but now that money will go to medical costs, as singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake covered the entire cost of a wheelchair-accessible van.

“Congratulations, you did it!” Michael Abbott Jr. tweeted on Monday. “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. Thank you all. You made a big difference in someone’s life this week. That should feel good. Happy Thanksgiving.”

“GOOD NEWS!! This family now has an adaptive van for the holidays,” Sam Luther tweeted. “17 year old Jake, who suffers from cerebral palsy, got a very special surprise today.”

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“The family raised $35k to cover the cost of the van but they’ll get to keep that money,” Luther tweeted in a follow-up. “Why?? Because @jtimberlake heard Jake’s story and wanted to help. He got the family the van, and even hopped on Zoom to chat with the 17 year old. The reaction says it all folks.”

Getting a van before Thanksgiving was especially important to the family, and Timberlake certainly delivered. He even got on a Zoom call with the family.

“It’s my pleasure,” Timberlake said. “Like I said, I heard that there was a promise — or a goal to try to get this van before Thanksgiving and I heard your story and then I saw a little news clip about it.”

“I was so moved that I just want you guys to have this van. I’m going to cover all the costs. I want you guys to have a great holiday, and you know, you inspire me, Jake.”

Jake is known in his local community for holding signs that say “Honk if you’re happy,” and Timberlake said his message was wonderful and now he could honk all over town in the new van.

Jake’s dad, Tim Stitt, said the family has been incredibly blessed and the new van means lots of open doors.

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“He caught the story and was just very touched with what was going on with this thing, and he wanted to reach out and decided that he wanted to purchase the van for Jacob and his needs,” the thankful father said, according to KRON-TV.

“It was just a very blessing to be able to speak to that gentleman and for him to be able to meet Jake and see what he needed.”

“It’s going to make his life much easier as we go into our future and it’s going to make my life a lot easier because there’s not many people that can lift him up and sit him in a van like he needs. It’s going to make our lives so much easier because of the independence he’s going to have as a young man now.”

“God’s always provided for us and we keep our faith and we’re thankful every day. It is a true meaning to thanksgiving and all that’s happened and stuff and it’s a blessing to our family to make us be able to have peace and relax more and not have to have worries is amazing. It’s very humbling.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking