Special needs student crusading against bullying gets $50,000 surprise

LAKELAND, Fla. - He may only be 12 years old, but he's wise beyond his years. 

Jaylen Arnold, a special needs student at Victory Christian School in Lakeland,  has traveled across the country, trying to stop bullying.  He says its all because he never wants any other child to go through what he went though. 

But Tuesday, Jaylen got the surprise of a lifetime.

He thought Tuesday's presentation would be like any of the others he has done. 

When Jaylen was younger, kids would tease him, call him names, all because he had Tourette's Syndrome and couldn't control his movements or the noises he would make.

Jaylen says he doesn't want that to happen to any other child and that's why he started his foundation, Jaylen's Challenge. 

But on Tuesday, Jaylen wasn't the only one giving a presentation.

Dave Andreychuk, former Tampa Bay Lightning player and captain of the 2004 Stanley Cup team presented Jaylen with his very own Lightning jersey. 

Congratulating him on a job well done through his foundation, praising Jaylen on the work he has done to this point.

"He's got a lot of courage to stand in front of his peers and talk about those things," says Andreychuk.

  "For us, its a no-brainer.  He's a kid who is well deserving of our community hero."

But the jersey wasn't the only surprise Jaylen was getting from the Lightning.

The biggest reveal of the day, a check for $50,000.  All to help fund his fight against bullying, thanks to the Community Hero Program funded by Jeff Vinik, owner of the Lightning.

Out of thousands of entries, Jaylen's Challenge was picked as one of the 41 award recipients this year and he's the youngest of those donation winners.

"I'm just really impressed with what Jaylen has gone through," says Elizabeth Frazier, Executive Director of the Lightning Foundation, also in attendance at Tuesday presentation. 

"And how he really wants to make the community a better place and say you know what happened to me doesn't have to happen to others."

Jaylen, visibly shocked, had this to say right after the presentation.

"That was so shocking," with a big smile on his face.  "That was so amazing!  That was so cool.  He gave me the jersey and the check.  This is going to help Jaylen's Challenge a lot."

If you would like to learn more about Jaylen's Challenge or would like to donate to his cause, visit their website at www.jaylenschallenge.org .

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