Parents of Arizona teen with rare disease hoping a cure is delivered with birthday card wish

Posted at 3:19 PM, Jul 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 15:19:26-04

QUEEN CREEK, AZ -An Arizona teen is wishing for 100,000 birthday cards and his parents are hoping one of them will connect him to a cure.

Jacob Priestley was diagnosed with a rare terminal mitochondrial disease that causes his cells that produce energy to die off while the others attack his body. The risk of infection and exposure to germs is high so he goes to school online and cannot have regular play dates.

Last year, desperate to give her son something to smile about, Jacob’s mom put a request on social media for anyone and everyone to send a birthday card. The response was overwhelming, 20,000 cards poured in from different states and countries, including one from the White House with a personalized note from then President Obama.

With no cure, each birthday Jacob celebrates is a huge milestone. As he approaches his 15th birthday, he and his parents set a new goal, to spread awareness of the disease even further in hopes of finding a cure or maybe someone with the means to start working on one. They’re hoping to get 100,000 cards by August 28th.

“100,000 eyes get on this disease, all it takes is the right one.” said his father Tom Priestley.

Several thousand have already been delivered, with more arriving each day. Jacob recently got a card and DVD from actor Matt Damon and another card came with an autographed photo from Thor star Chris Hemsworth. The celebrity shout-outs certainly carry a cool factor for the young teen but he says the ones that mean the most are those that also bring inspiration.

"I got a card from a girl with mental illness. That keeps me going, I look at them and think if you can deal with this I can go hard.” Said Jacob.

If you’d like to drop a card in the mail, address it to:

Jacob Priestley
P.O. BOX 855