Community comes together to give van to cancer-fighting teen - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Community comes together to give van to cancer-fighting teen

Community rallies to give Jaylen and his grandmother a new van (Source: WOIO) Community rallies to give Jaylen and his grandmother a new van (Source: WOIO)
AKRON, OH (WOIO) -

During a season full of holiday presents, one Akron teen already knows each day is a gift.

15-year-old Jaylen Oliver was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer when he was 13 years old.

During his 8th grade year he was in remission, but just a few months a go the cancer reappeared.

After being home-schooled by his teacher Michele, Jaylen is now a ninth grader at Firestone High School.

His grandmother, Sharon Smith, has taken care of him since he was 10 months old, when his mother passed away.

Smith's car began to break down between Jaylen's frequent trips to the doctor.

"That car is on it's last leg sitting in my driveway," Smith said.

Touched by Jalyen's story, Michele's sister, Melanie Vitale took action.

Vitale owns a gym and asked the "Step One" cheerleaders to help raise money.

"I was moved by the story, when my sister told me everything I said 'we're going to help them get a car," Vitale said. 

The cheerleaders, along with Chardon High School and two other businesses, helped to raise $8,000. 

When Great Lakes Honda in Akron found out, they covered the rest and provided Smith and Jaylen with a new van.

"I'm so overwhelmed," Smith said. "I can take him to the doctor now in a nice, decent vehicle and he has room to stretch out because he's six feet tall."

Although they don't talk about it, Smith and Jaylen know each month he lives defies what the doctors have predicted.

But Smith says she's holding on to the vision of seeing Jaylen drive the van for the first time when he gets his license.

"I told him you're gonna beat this," Smith said.

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