Arizona boy battling terminal illness seeks birthday cards

QUEEN CREEK, Arizona (WABC) -- A boy from Arizona who is in the fight of his life battling a terminal disease has one simple thing that makes him smile: a birthday card.

His family is using social media to get the word out about his upcoming birthday, hoping to make it his most memorable yet.

Jacob Priestley is always tired and feels pain all over his body.

"It's very hard to wake up," he said. "Sometimes I just lay in bed and keep sleeping."

Priestly has mitochondrial disease, a rare life-threatening illness that weakens every cell in his body.

"Since his disease is terminal, we don't know how many more birthdays he's going to have with us," mom Britney Priestley said. "So we vowed we would make every birthday bigger and better than last year."

She posted something on Facebook last year, asking friends and family to send her son a silly or funny birthday card. She expected a couple hundred.

"It exploded," she said. "We went Arizona viral. That's when we got about 8,000 cards. It was great."

The cards proved to be the best medicine, all that a 13-year old kid stuck at home could ask for.

"They make me feel better, and they just make me happy," he said.

This year, they are making another push on social media hoping to receive even more birthday wishes from around the world.

"So far, Jacob has received cards from as far away as England, Australia, even China," Britney Priestley said. "And get this, he's also gotten a couple cards from prison inmates."

Some of his favorites come from other terminally ill children who see him as an inspiration in their fight to survive.

"I think it kind of gives him a little bond that they share," Britney Priestley said. "They know they're not alone."

If you want to mail Jacob a card (and he prefers funny ones and those with puns), you can send it to:
Jacob Priestley
P. O. Box 855
Queen Creek, AZ 85142
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