Close bond of Sylvester kids earns them a trip to the Olympics
SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) - Ten lucky kids from around the country are getting free trips to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ronald McDonald House Charities honored five children who overcame serious health problems and five more who stood by those kids.
Thursday afternoon at the McDonald's in Sylvester, a south Georgia brother and sister found out they're among that group.
"It's just amazing. Never happened to me before," said a shocked J'Son Walker as he broke into tears.
J'Son weighed just over 2.5 lbs. when he was born. He has sickle cell disease and suffered an aneurysm in 2010 that left him in a coma for 55 days.
His sister Ja'Kerria has been his biggest cheerleader through it all. "I think I motivated him to keep trying," she said.
J'Son said, "She was right there by my side."
Ronald McDonald House Charities recognized that bond and chose the twins, their mother, and their grandfather to be special guests in Rio. Keeping the secret was tough for mom. Shalonda Polk said, "I think I got ulcers. Oh my God, it's been very, very hard."
But now she's as excited as the kids for the trip. "I'm very excited. It's something different, something new," she said.
The parents don't know what they would have done during J'Son's health crisis without the Ronald McDonald House. They're thrilled he's doing well now and are amazed by the trip he's about to take. Polk said, "He beat all those odds. They said he wasn't gonna remember us. He wasn't gonna be to walk again. He had to learn how to do all that again, and he done did the total opposite."
The twins' father, Jason Walker, said "It's very good that he's getting to do some things that a lot of little kids never get to do in their life. I think he deserves it."
The twins will take part in the Olympics opening ceremony with Team USA. J'Son said he hopes to get to meet gymnast Gabby Douglas, and he has one message for the team.
"Good luck," J'Son said, and that's something this Rio-bound young man knows something about.
The Olympics begin August 5th on WALB NBC.
Our Ben Roberts will be there, too. Click here to like his Facebook page, so you can join in his Facebook live chats from Rio.
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