“In our house the Choice Awards have been like the Super Bowl,” Jayden’s mother, Valerie Ayers, told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
Jayden Ayers, 11, who has a life threatening heart condition, seen here with his sister Allyana 13, his mother Valerie and father Richard, was selected by the Make A Wish foundation to go to the Nickelodeon kids choice awards on Saturday. (Photo: CARLOS ORTIZ/@CFORTIZ_DANDC/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
On Saturday, the 11-year-old and his family will be in the audience as Nickelodeon announces the winners in categories like “favorite buttkicker,” and “most wanted pet”!
Their trip was arranged by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a non-profit that grants wishes to kids with life-threatening illnesses. Jayden was born with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and pulmonary value stenosis, heart conditions that limit his physical capabilities. Medications can help, but he must absolutely avoid over exertion. When he was younger, that meant that he couldn't jump or run or ride his bike for more than five minutes. "Keeping him down was the hardest part because he is an energetic happy kid," said his mother.
Last year his condition deteriorated to the point that he needed open heart surgery. Learning that he had been selected for a Make-A-Wish trip helped keep his spirits up when he was waiting to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for the operation. He said he still thinks that his selection is part of a dream. "I almost started crying tears of joy because I was so excited," he said.
Jodi Tunison, of Hilton, nominated the Ayers family to the Make-A-Wish foundation and was thrilled to learn they'd been selected. She went to middle school with Valerie Ayers and the women later bonded over the shared experience of caring for a very sick child. Tunison's son Connor has focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a disease that causes kidney failure. Two years ago, the Make-A-Wish foundation gave him a family trip to Atlantis, Bahamas. He swam with dolphins and met NFL players and had a wonderful time, his mother said. The trip came at a time when he was having a difficult time dealing with his disease and it really helped the whole family. "This isn't just for Jayden," she said of the upcoming Kids' Choice excursion. "When you have a sick child, the whole family sacrifices and aches and worries."
Jayden had his heart operation in August. He is doing much better and has a part in the chorus of Mary Poppins at Athena Middle School. He is eagerly awaiting the Kids' Choice Awards and said he is looking forward to seeing Ariana Grande and Hailee Steinfeld. His mother is looking forward to seeing Justin Timberlake. His friends will be watching back home, hoping to see him on TV. Jayden said he plans to wear "bright, bright, bright green" sneakers and a button up t-shirt with flowers on it. "You'll see him a mile away," his mother said.
Hope you have a aweslime time Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards, Jayden! :)
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