Walnut Grove’s Jason Ahn, 11, is an outgoing kid who makes friends easily and has a love of computer games, Lego and the folded-paper art of origami.
He also happens to have Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a neuromuscular disease which affects the motor neurons that power the muscles in the body.
Jason’s condition keeps him seated in a wheelchair, which, his father Peter said, works for origami, a discipline that demands both patience and focus at a table.
According to his dad, Jason is “quite well known in his school for his origami.”
It was how 11-year-old Jason made friends at his new school.
Peter told the Langley Advance Times his son “has the talent of making conversation.”
“He’s very outgoing, he’s very good with people.”
In fact, Jason’s talent for connecting with other kids, especially those with disabilities such as autism, has led some to suggest he might have a career as a counsellor, Peter shared.
Jason’s knack for connecting with others isn’t something his parents share, with dad Peter describing himself and wife Bona as being on the shy side.
“I’m not really that outgoing,” Peter said, describing himself as someone who enjoys playing sports more than being social.
On Wednesday, however, Peter stepped out his comfort zone on behalf of his son and the 56th Annual Variety Show of Hearts Telethon.
Ahn wanted to let people know his family is grateful for the help they have received from the community and the Variety Cub charity, which was a big help after Jason had a fall.
He had been using a manual wheelchair with an attached motor until it tipped over.
After the accident, he began using a loaner power wheelchair but was unable to take it anywhere, as his family did not have a vehicle that could accommodate the chair.
Variety provided Jason and his family with with a van ramp so that he could easily be transported to and from school and appointments.
Ahn is encouraging people to donate to the 56th Annual Variety Show of Hearts Telethon that will air on Saturday, Feb. 26 from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.on Global B.C.
Jason and his family will be present as featured guests.
This year’s entertainment will feature David Foster, Katharine McPhee and Colin James.
Winner of 16 Grammy Awards, Foster has also won both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe while earning three Oscar nominations for “Best Original Song”.
McPhee, an American Idol runner-up went on to make her Broadway debut in 2018 playing the lead female role of “Jenna” in Waitress.
James, a seven-time Juno award winner, will be performing songs from his new album, Open Road.
And making their Show of Hearts debut will be six-time Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter, Serena Ryder, singer-songwriter, William Prince, Penticton spoken-word poet Shane Koyczan and Canadian violinist, Adrian Anantawan.
For over 50 years, Variety, a registered charity, has distributed more than $30 million in funding to families and organizations in communities across the province.
Last year’s Show of Hearts raised $6.7 million to benefit children with special needs province-wide.
Donations can be made by calling toll-free at 310-KIDS as well as online or by texting “KIDS” to 45678 to make an automatic $20 contribution.
Have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.