In December, Progress readers opened their hearts and pens and sent thousands of Christmas cards to Cody Jones, a local PHS student who in his 20 years has faced more medical problems and surgeries than most can imagine. Cody was thrilled with the response and looked forward everyday to getting his mail.
Now, he and his family are asking for a moment of your time for something much simpler – a click for Cody – that could get the Jasper resident a trip to a fully handicapped accessible fun park in Texas. Winners will be announced on May 1st.
At right, Jasper’s Cody Jones is in the running for a trip to a special theme park for handicapped youth.
Cody’s teacher, Teresa Fountain, nominated him for a national competition on the website “weareteachers.com”. If he wins, he and his family will be flown to Texas to visit a San Antonio park called Morgan’s Wonderland.
The ultra-accessible theme park was designed for special needs individuals in mind and is completely wheelchair accessible. Morgan’s Wonderland features more than 25 rides and attractions.
“The park is kind of like Six Flags but it’s all handicapped accessible,” said Cody’s mom Angie.
Cody, who has a rare lung disease called bronchomalschia, a heart condition and has endured more than 60 surgeries in his short life, is unable to ride any of the rides at Six Flags. A Pickens High School junior, Cody now has a trachostophy and uses an oxygen tank during the day fitted with a speaking valve. Not very long ago, when his family took him on a three-day trip to Dollywood, a Tennessee-based theme park, they were asked to leave.
“They asked us to leave Dollywood the last time we went because of a security reason because of his oxygen,” Mrs. Jones said.
Mrs. Jones said Dollywood refunded their tickets but Cody was incredibly disappointed.
“I’ve got pictures at home when he was littler of him riding those same rides (at Dollywood). But I didn’t push it. They said he couldn’t carry his oxygen tank that it needed to be attached to his body. They checked with their security people and then asked us to leave. That was the only reason we went to the mountains. It was awful.”
In 1996 the Make A Wish Foundation flew Cody to Disney World in Orlando. Although incredibly grateful for the experience Cody, at just four years old and recovering from a spinal fusion, wasn’t able to participate fully in the experience.
“He had a back brace on then,” his mother said. “The best part about it was the limousine coming to pick us up. That was something. He was very young and scared to death of Mickey and the other characters.”
Mrs. Jones said Cody is very excited about the possibility of winning a trip to Morgan’s Wonderland.
“He checks the website almost every other hour to see how many votes he’s gotten. I wish there was some way to get him out there.”
Mrs. Jones said if Cody wins the family would have one year to make the trip.
“That will be nice so we don’t have to go in the summer when it’s so hot. We can wait till later when it will be easier for him to breath.”
In addition to the trip, Cody’s teacher would win $2,500 for school supplies.