Manatee County toddler will get an expert opinion on his mystery disease, thanks to viewers

Strangers answer mother's plea

ST. PETERSBURG - Like any normal 2-year-old, Jaymesun Smith isn't thrilled about seeing his doctor.

"Okay, Jaymesun, we're going to try that again buddy," Dr. Joseph Casadonte said while examining the toddler.

At one point, Jaymesun slipped out of his mom's lap, and started what appeared to be a tantrum, banging his hands and feet on the cold floor. His mom, Ashley, explained that the behavior is more like a dance, one of the only ways he can hear.

"He's been making progress, but still, he's got a ways to go," Dr. Joseph Casadonte said.

Born almost completely deaf and blind, scans show his brain isn't developing correctly, and no one's really sure why.

"Is it something that's really major? Is it something that's going to be life-threatening?" Ashley said.

Next month, the world's leading experts on rare brain diseases will be in Chicago at the United Leukodystrohy Foundation's 29th Family Conference.

"It includes people who are working actively on this all the time," Dr. Casadonte said.

They've agreed to examine Jaymesun, but when ABC Action News met Ashley in May, she told us she couldn't afford the trip. She calculated it would cost about $1,500. After a few fundraising efforts, Ashley told us she'd only raised a few hundred.

Still, she said she wasn't worried.

"God gave me Jaymesun for a reason," she said. "God keeps providing everything he needs."

Tuesday, while sitting in the exam room, she had no idea a man she'd never met was sitting in Dr. Casadonte's waiting room, a check in hand.

 "I can't wait to meet him," Brian George said.

He saw the first story we aired back in May and wanted to help.

"I understand the circumstances you're in right now," he told Ashley. "It's a pleasure from me to you and Jaymesun. God bless."

"Thank you so much," Ashley cried. "Thank you."

Then we told Ashley that another, anonymous donor planned to match Brian's donation.

"That's so awesome because I didn't know what I was going to do for the fundraiser," she cried. "We were coming up so close."

So, with one month to go, thanks to the generosity of two strangers, Jaymesun has another reason to dance.

For more information on how to help Jaymesun, or if you'd like to keep up with his journey, visit his website .

Print this article Back to Top