A hopeful future
Pilot Point woman looks to help grandson
When Jonas Lee was five months old, he was diagnosed with progressive infantile scoliosis.
Oklahoma resident Jonas is now 12 years old, and he’s facing a new challenge: an expensive new surgery that could correct his 73-degree curvature in his spine that has continued despite his torso casts.
“When they told him that he’s no longer a candidate for the other procedure, they said he can get this one, but he’s got to get it within the next three months or it’s going to be too late because his curve is going to get worse and he’s going to grow more,” said Tammy Oveross, Jonas’ maternal grandmother who lives in Pilot Point. “There’s time constraints, which, you know, have been difficult, because if they had known a year ago … they could have been fundraising and doing things all along to get ready.”
Over the course of his young life, Jonas has had 37 different braces, and he generally wears a brace 23 hours a day, Oveross said.
“He’s been a real trooper,” Oveross said. “Of course, it’s all he’s ever known, too. But he’s an awesome kid. He’s a pitcher on his baseball team. He plays guitar, violin, fiddle, drums, mandolin. He can play almost any kind of string instrument.”
He also loves the outdoors, she said, and his love of nature factors into what he wants to be when he grows up — a wildlife biologist for either the National Parks system or a state park system.
Having the surgery that should help straighten Jonas’s spine would help him be able to achieve that dream.
Without the surgery, Jonas would likely have to have a spinal fusion.
“And when you fuse the bones before they’ve finished growing, everything else grows and the spine doesn’t,” Oveross said.
That could cause long-term health problems, she added.
“If he ended up getting the fusion and everything, he would have chronic issues the rest of his life because of it —arthritis, it might affect his breathing.”
Jonas is also a kind and loving big brother, his grandmother said, to his younger brother Jude, who has been diagnosed with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and is treated for it at Scottish Rite.
Although the family’s original goal of $35,000 has been met, which covers the deposit for the procedure, any additional money raised will help his parents Hollie and Jason Lee with travel expenses.
“When he goes up there, he will be in the hospital for two to three weeks after the surgery, and Mom and Dad will be there with him,” Oveross said. “So, you know, it’s expensive.”
They’re also trying to figure out how to tackle the 22-hour drive from Texas to New Jersey.
The Anterior Scoliosis Correction surgery itself is expensive and insurance will likely not cover the costs, Oveross said.
Those costs include a $66,000 doctor’s fee.
Jonas’ surgery is scheduled for Oct. 14.
Oveross said her daughter, her son-in-law and their two boys are grateful for the support they have received. As of Wednesday morning, gofundme.com/f/jonas-we039ve-got-your-back was still active and open for donations.
“They have a very strong faith, and they appreciate prayers,” Oveross said of her family.