NewsPasco County


Odessa neighborhood parade honors baby boy with Spina Bifida

Posted at 4:50 PM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-01 18:50:27-05

ODESSA, Fla- — Jack Schwartz probably won’t remember much from the day he was grand marshall of a parade.

But his parents say they’ll never forget it.

“We are really just overwhelmed with the amount of support and the story getting out so quickly and people latching on and wanting to help in any way they can," said Matt Schwartz.

In April, Matt and Jess found out Jack has Spina Bifida, a birth defect where the spinal cord doesn’t properly form.

There have been surgeries, setbacks, and premature birth.

But after 155 days in the hospital, little Jack is finally home and growing.

“Doesn’t even feel like he’s the same baby because he’s just doing so much better. He’s just thriving in every way since we’ve taken him home," said Jess Schwartz.

The Starkey Ranch community in Odessa first held a New Year’s Day parade two years ago to show support for 12-year-old Ali Spears who was fighting Leukemia.

Ali died a couple of months later, but her parents and neighbors are making this a yearly event to raise money for other families.

“We are so thrilled to be able to do this for them and help them in any way we can," said Mara Spears.

Last year’s Grand Marshall, Emily Bromberg is still fighting cancer.

Today, it’s baby Jack’s turn to be the star of the show.

Jack will have countless doctor appointments and treatments in the future. And the money raised with this event will help.

“It just means so much that everybody is supporting us because we’ve been through a lot," said Jess.

For more information on how to help the family go to:

And to learn more about Spina Bifida go to: