PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When a child has a degenerative disease, not every classmate understands. But this boy had a best friend who wanted to help in a way that’s unusual. A boy in Trevose is riding high after getting a show of support from his whole school.
The kids at Ferderbar Elementary School of Trevose are cheering the man of the hour, 10-year-old Jake Wesley.
“He’s got a really good personality, and he’s a good friend,” said Daniel Busch, 11.
Jake’s a lot like the other kids in his class, except for the motorized wheelchair. Jake has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. But until this day, some of his classmates didn’t really get it.
“People didn’t understand what was wrong with me,” said Jake.
“Lots of people actually thought that he could still walk, just he was too lazy and he went in his wheelchair,” said Matthew Pozzuolo, 10.
“A lot of the kids were afraid of him,” said Cindy Wesley, Jake’s mother. “They were afraid of the chair.”
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So the school held Jake-a-thon, part parade, part teaching moment, where kids explained to their classmates about what Duchenne is and how it affects muscles. Right by Jake’s side was his best friend, Matthew Pozzuolo.
“He felt that he wanted to do something to make the children in the school aware,” said Lisa Pozzuolo, Matthew’s mother.
“People could get to know him, and they would get why he’s in a wheelchair,” said Matthew.
A school club, EarlyAct, helped put it all together.
“I am completely overwhelmed,” said Cindy. “Jake’s not a big talker, but I know inside he’s touched. I can tell.”
“Everybody doesn’t think I’m lazy and they know what’s wrong with me and that I have muscular dystrophy,” said Jake.
This trip was only around the playground, but they hope the message was loud enough to carry much farther.
The kids also raised money selling bracelets that say End Duchenne. The money will go to a non-profit that helps people with the disease.