06/03/04 — Benefit to be held for sick Mount Olive child

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Benefit to be held for sick Mount Olive child

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 3, 2004 1:59 PM

Jackson Herritt cannot run, skip, hop or jump. He has limited balance and is missing fibers needed for his muscles to grow.

At 3 years old, he weighs only 22 pounds.

His mom, Stacy Herritt of Goldsboro, said he has congenital fibre type disposition myopathy, a rare form of muscular dystrophy. She said her son's symptoms started at infancy and have resulted in his being hospitalized several times.

Stacy and Jamie Ray Herritt also have three older children, ages 13, 9 and 7. Six months ago, daughter Macy joined the family. The baby has recently developed neurological problems and in March was diagnosed with hydrocephalitis.

Mrs. Herritt said the health problems allow little time for her to get out of the house. Her son has to be fed four times a day through a tube in his stomach.

She and another relative are the only ones trained to do it.

Now, her goal is to make sure Jackson has the best summer possible. She said she learned that one thing that will help him physically is aqua therapy. Someone donated a 10-foot pool and decking that will be put to good use, she said.

The Make-A-Wish Found-ation has also contacted the family about granting the boy a wish.

"He wants a swing set," she said.

Jackson's future is uncertain, though, she said. Since the disease is so rare, statistics on it are limited. Eventually, though, the prognosis is that scoliosis will set in along with severe respiratory problems.

The struggles have taken their toll on the family, not only emotionally and physically but financially. Both parents are currently out of work, partly due to the frequent hospitalizations. As a result, they got behind in paying bills and have filed for bankruptcy.

Mrs. Herritt said Jackson qualified for disability payments, which has helped with some of the hospital bills. One of her biggest struggles, she says, is where to go for help.

"You really don't have anywhere to turn when you're middle class," she said.

So on Saturday, the family will hold a benefit dinner from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Stacy's E-Z Mart and Tackle on U.S. 117 South beside Wayne Auto Salvage.

The store, owned by Stacy's father-in-law, Jackson Herritt, was named for her.

She said her son will attend the event, which will feature barbecue plates for sale, a yard sale and a raffle. Donations are also appreciated, she said.

"We have been really pleased with all the support the area businesses have given so far," she said. "Not a single one has turned us down when we asked for help."

Mrs. Herritt said she also has another goal after the benefit is done.

"I'm working to start a fund for middle-class parents in the city," she said. "I'm trying to get nonprofit status."

For more information on Saturday's benefit, call Stacy's E-Z Mart at 736-1188.