A Tuscaloosa police car parade brought joy and smiles on the face of a 5-year-old boy battling a rare disease.
The cars with their lights flashing and sirens wailing brightened the face of Jace Whitson Thursday morning on El Dorado East.
Jace has a blood disease, propionic acidemia, which doesn’t allow his body to process proteins and at age 5, he’s already outlived the doctor’s projections for him. “When he was first diagnosed with it at birth, he was given two years to live, so he is 5 now,” said Jace’s father, Timothy Whitson. “It has really strengthened my family’s faith. I thank God for that. He’s 5 and he has probably spent 105 days in the hospital over five years.”
On Thursday, Jace was smiling brightly and waving at the passing police cars along with his 3-year-old brother and other family members. On bad days, Jace can face life-threatening complications, according to his family members.
“About two weeks ago, he had a bad episode. The ammonia levels in his blood got to where it was toxic. At that point, he can have a stroke, or a seizure or go into a coma. This time, he was very lethargic, dizzy, couldn’t stand, no strength, couldn’t breathe, and he was vomiting. When he has an episode, he has to go directly to Children’s (of Alabama) hospital. He is given a pass, and they take him right back. He doesn’t have to wait. He can’t wait,” said Whitson.
TPD Cpl. David Jones was the one who organized the parade, he works as an investigator in the juvenile division, and is the fiancé of Jace’s aunt. He was aware of Jace’s love for the police and thought the parade might be the right thing to do for the 5-year-old. “Any time we can do anything to put a smile on a kid’s face, that’s what it’s all about. His mom expressed how he loves the police, so I thought this would be a good idea for us to do for him. That’s what it’s about. My unit is all for it,” Jones said.
With all the protest and racial division going on, this police car parade has put them in a positive light. The entire Whitson family stood in the front yard, waving at the officers and grateful for what the police department did. Jones stopped and brought Jace a goody bag filled with police-related items, including a TPD cap and a replica badge, which he immediately wore. “It’s been a challenge,” said Whitson. “Most people don’t want to deal with the day-to-day challenge of waiting for the two-year mark only to lose a child.”
Our hearts and prayers go out to the Whitson family and particularly to Jace, as we pray to our heavenly Father to heal this child completely and restore him back to good health in Jesus’s name. Amen.