MOUNT VERNON — Sunday was a dream come true for Jacob Bell, 7, of Centerburg. It was a day his biggest wish was fulfilled. Bounce houses, pony rides and 150 of Jacob’s closest friends were celebrating a carnival at Ariel-Foundation Park’s Schnormeier Events Center — all at Jacob’s request.
The son of Jennifer and Shad Bell, Jacob suffers from Diamond-Blackfan Anemia, a rare disorder of the bone marrow. And although his condition is not terminal, not all days are easy for Jacob.
“It’s a genetic condition, and it’s a lifelong thing,” said Jennifer Bell. “It could be cured by a bone marrow transplant, which is kind of our last-ditch effort. It’s either blood transfusions every three weeks, daily medications or a transplant. But he can still live a good life.”
After Jacob had made numerous trips to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, a social worker at the hospital had notified the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Jacob’s condition and wondered if they could do anything for him.
“Jacob wished to have a carnival for his friends and family. When we get ‘wishes’ sent to us about anything people want, we get that paperwork filled out and make it happen,” said Nicole Toombs, marketing and communications manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “And especially with things like this, with the help of the community, we like to restore hope and make wishes come true.”
Jacob’s father, Shad, works for Ariel Corp., and making Sunday’s carnival financially possible was Ariel Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Karen Buchwald-Wright.
“Karen is just very generous and very supportive, and I can’t thank her enough,” said Jennifer.
Along with the bounce houses and pony rides, there were also Jacob’s other favorites — ice cream, snocones and root beer floats plus fun party treats for the youngsters.
“I think this is good. I like that my friends are here. And I get to bounce,” said Jacob, who will be a first-grader at Centerburg Elementary School this fall.
While it was hard to tear him away from the bounce houses on the grounds, Jacob said he had been to different carnivals before but was never at one like this before.
“It’s all just amazing. I look at this as not just a celebration for Jacob to show him all the support he has in his life, but also to thank everybody who does support us,” Jennifer said.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants 140 requests a year in central Ohio; and in the three-state chapter of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, about 850 wishes are met each year, with the average cost coming in at $8,000.
“Thank you for coming,” Jacob said, as he raced off to the bounce houses once again.