KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — February 28 is designated as a day to raise awareness for the 300 million people around the world living with a rare disease.
We are celebrating a remarkable Sevier County boy who has an extremely rare neurological condition affecting his coordination. Despite the obstacles, he is one of the most joyful kids we have ever met.
Andrews Physical Therapy on Asheville Highway in Knox County is decked out in green. There are empowering messages and balloons everywhere in honor of six-year-old Jett Taylor.
Jett has a neurological condition called Ponto Cerebellar Hypoplasia. It affects the part of the brain that coordinates movement.
Physical Therapist Hannah Wells helps Jett move those muscles through playtime.
“Jett comes to therapy weekly to work on things like strengthening his legs, strengthening his core,” Wells said. “Strengthening his arms. We work on moving from laying on the floor to sitting, playing on his knees. We work on walking.”
Wells’s role in Jett’s life is critical to him and his family, which includes his 18-month-old brother Zane.
“It’s really important that she has that bond with Jett,” Jett’s mother Sadie told WATE.” He’s a long-term patient and we want him to look forward to coming and seeing her every week. That’s a part of our life.”
On this visit, Wells planned something special outside to honor the occasion.
“Do you hear something with your ears?” she asked an excited Jett as they ventured outside the physical therapy facility.
Once Jett realized his favorite treat, Kona Ice, had come to see him, he made a beeline in his wheelchair for the colorful truck and a cool treat from the warm-hearted owners, sharing with them a treat of his own: that wonderful smile.
To learn more about Rare Disease Day 2023, visit rarediseaseday.org.