QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. — Jacob Priestley looks forward to his birthday all year long. Reading the cards he’s received gives him a reason to smile, CNN affiliate KNXV reports.
“It’s amazing. I don’t know how to explain. It’s heartwarming,” he said.
He turns 15 on Aug. 28, but he faces an uphill battle to get there. He has mitochondrial disease.
“It’s very tiring. It drains my energy. I’m basically bed-bound,” he said.
The disease shuts down parts of his body, and there’s no cure.
“Eventually, it’s going to take over the heart,” Jacob’s father Tom Priestley said.
Jacob has one wish: to receive 100,000 birthday cards. A stack of well-wishes from all over the country has already come in.
“His overall goal is to use his name and who he is … devote his life to try to raise awareness to try to find a cure for it,” Tom Priestley said.
At 14, Jacob has already defied the odds and plans to make each day count.
He and his father hope that with each card, there’s more awareness of mitochondrial disease and more reasons for Jacob to smile.
“We’re just going to put a smile on our face, go through life, and say, ‘Throw what you got at me because we got each other. We’ll get through this,'” Jacob’s father said.
If you’d like to send a card, the family asks that you address it to:
P.O. Box 855
Queen Creek, AZ 85142