Justin Timberlake helped a fellow Tennessee native this week by donating a wheelchair-accessible van to Jake Stitt's family. Stitt, 17, who lives in Morristown, Tennessee, has cerebral palsy, and his family recently launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a wheelchair-accessible van. After hearing about Stitt, the "Can't Stop the Feeling" singer reached out to his family and bought the van.
"He caught the story and was just very touched with what was going on with this thing and he wanted to reach out and decided that he wanted to purchase the van for Jacob and his needs," Stitt's father, Tim Stitt, told WJHL. "It was just a very blessing to be able to speak to that gentleman and for him to be able to meet Jake and see what he needed." The van Stitt's family needed was $35,000, and Timberlake bought it on Wednesday.
Jake Stitt is a 17 year old who lives in Morristown TennesseeHe has cerebral palsy, and his family doesn’t have a wheelchair accessible van. But that changed today when jake received the van as a gift from pop icon Justin Timberlake... pic.twitter.com/uSZ0y1dnYl— Anslee Daniel WJHL (@Anslee_WJHL) November 25, 2020
Timberlake spoke with Stitt over a Zoom call. The van was delivered Wednesday afternoon in a parade that passed Stitt's house. Since the family already raised $26,000 on GoFundMe, Timberlake asked that the rest of the funds go to Stitt's care. "God’s always provided for us and we keep our faith and we’re thankful every day," Tim said, calling Timberlake's act of generosity an example of the "true meaning" of Thanksgiving. He said it was a "blessing to our family to make us be able to have peace and relax more and not have to have worries is amazing. It’s very humbling."
WJHL first told Stitt's story last week, noting that Stitt became a celebrity in Morristown because of a sign his family put outside their door. Stitt can usually be seen sitting on the front porch below a sign reading "Honk if you are happy." People honk whenever they pass by, and "fortunately, the neighbors don't mind," Tim added.
Stitt's family launched the GoFundMe page because Tim had to physically pick up his son and put him in their regular van to take him to doctor appointments. This has started to take a toll on Tim himself, as his doctors want to do surgery on his back. Tim said he had to put the surgery on hold because he would be unable to help Stitt during recovery.
Stitt already had the support of another famous Tennessee native, actor Michael Abbott Jr. He vowed to raise the $35,000 by Thanksgiving and personally worked with Superior Van and Mobility in Knoxville to secure a rate of $35,000 for a special van. “Being from East Tennessee, I know people have big hearts,” Abbott told WJHL. “And the generosity that pours out of that community is unheard of. So I know people will come forward and do what they know is right.”