(11-year old Jack Brown is hyped with all the empties collected from Stittsville and area residents and thanks everyone for the donations. Photo: Greg Brown)
The Brown family of Stittsville have been immersed in a sea of empties since their call in April asking residents to donate to their bottle drive — Rock Out For Jack — to alleviate some of the medical costs associated with the care for their son Jack who was born with CHARGE syndrome, a rare and life-limiting disorder, along with the diagnosis of severe autism.
In the past, the family has relied on various festivals and events to raise the funds for Jack’s medical needs, but with the COVID-19 pandemic taking a firm grip, their roaring start to 2020 — graciously being invited to 15 or more festivals — came to an abrupt halt. It was then that Jack’s father, Greg, came up with the idea for the hosting of a bottle drive and he says, “It has truly been a resounding success. The support for Jack from our community has been overwhelming; I can’t thank them enough for the kind words and generosity”. The bottle drive continues as the funds are needed on an ongoing basis.
We asked Greg how Jack has been coping through these past few months, “Jack is doing exceptionally well. We are keeping him quarantined for the time being. This is the longest he has gone illness-free with no hospitalizations! A common cold for us can be fatal for him. We haven’t decided yet what we are going to do regarding school. I quickly learned that Jack prefers to compartmentalize his life. I brought his school iPad home, which has all the school Apps on it. Jack took one look at the front of it, one look at the back, then threw it under the TV (lol). What happens at school stays at school!”
Jack turned 11 on June 29th and during the month, he reached a breakthrough like never before. Jack is deaf and with a tracheostomy his ability to speak has been compromised. Communication has been his toughest hurdle to overcome. With the aid of his doodle board, his Mom was sitting beside him and wrote ‘Mommy’ with an arrow pointing to herself on the board — Jack was quick to respond by erasing her message and wrote ‘Im baby’. Miracles will never cease.
Greg also shared that with Jack’s use of the doodle board, the family discovered that Jack had taught himself the Russian alphabet at just 4 years old! One must question how Jack’s brain works, but it is obviously filled with learning.
To date, the bottle drive has raised just shy of $10,000 – equivalent to empties amounting to 50,000 cans, 20,000 wine bottles and 10,000 beer bottles. The money has been put to good use to purchase medical supplies for Jack and at least $1,000 in diapers.
Unfortunately, the fundraising party finale for the silent auction and guitar raffle tickets had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. However, Howard and his partners at YukYuk’s have already pledged to support Jack in 2021.
Having said that, the silent auction and live-stream guitar raffle draw, has been pushed forward to Saturday December 19th at 9:00 pm and will have a Christmas theme.
To follow and support RockOutForJack, the link to the Facebook page is here. There is also a GoFundMe page set-up by Greg and fellow family friend Mark deSilva to assist in fundraising – donate today here.