Who: Jayce McCabe might only be 4, but he’s already a superhero to others, and he even has his own cape. The always-smiling little boy lives in Olyphant with parents Jonathan and Amanda, little brother Jakob, his grandparents and his two “fur brothers,” Cam and Bruiser, a service dog in training. Since he was 4 months old, however, Jayce also has been a patient of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where a team of 12 specialists and therapists oversees his medical care.
What: Jayce was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in 2017, and his family learned the following year that he has a rare genetic condition, GRIN2B, a type of neurodevelopmental disorder. After 14 months of waiting for test results, Jayce, who also has epilepsy and is non-verbal, learned that his type of GRIN is not yet treatable and might never be, his mother explained. And in late 2018, Jayce needed to use a feeding tube because of swallowing problems.
“Everything is on Jayce’s terms now,” doctors told his family, and with time and lots of therapy, he will walk and talk. For the last two years, Jayce has received physical, occupational and speech therapies at Allied Services, and he also has therapy four days a week at NEIU 19’s Jefferson Center, where he is a student. “Without all these amazing people, he wouldn’t have come this far in such a short time,” Amanda McCabe said.
Why: Jayce did not attend therapy or school for six months thanks to widespread COVID-19 shutdowns. As places gradually reopened, though, his life began to return to normal. He is regaining strength and learning to communicate through a new “eye-gaze device,” which he had received just as the pandemic shutdowns began.
How: “A Race for Jayce,” a pasta dinner benefit/fifth birthday party for Jayce, will take place Sunday, Nov. 1, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Eynon VFW Post 7963, 284 Main St., Archbald. The $10 ticket includes pasta, meatballs, salad, rolls, dessert and a soft drink. Tickets are available in advance and at the door. The event also will include basket raffles, T-shirt sales and music by DJ Pat Moore, who is donating his time. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.
People also can mail donations to Mary Merrifield at 151 Laurel St., Archbald, PA 18434; make checks out to cash and put “A Race for Jayce” in the memo field.
In her own words: “Your support and donations would mean the world to us. Jayce is soon to be 5 and is non-mobile, and we are raising money to help with the cost of the robotic legs that will get him walking for the first time in his life. The cost of the legs is $30,000 and insurance does not cover them.” — Amanda McCabe, mother
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest