Do you have a special someone on your holiday list who really wants a Wii? Why not make that good little boy or girl’s holiday wish of unwrapping a brand new video game console come true while at the same time helping the family of a wee little boy in need?
Bryan Conger, Stephenville-native and head baseball coach at Tarleton State University, and his wife Melanie are parents to J.J., a happy, active little boy who will turn one-year-old on Christmas Day. The young family also includes Maddux, 13, and Kaliegh, 11. The two older Conger kids are students in the Stephenville ISD.
For most of his life, J.J. (Jacoby Jax) has been struggling with a rare neurological condition called West Syndrome, an uncommon and serious form of infantile spasms.
The Congers find themselves faced with more questions than answers when it comes to their son’s prognosis and spend a lot of time in doctors’ offices as the infant endures a barrage of tests to determine the cause of the spasms.
One by one, causes and conditions are marked off the list and the proud parents slowly learn of other hurdles facing J.J. as he grows. They recently discovered his vision is impaired and could be legally blind once he has matured enough to better respond to vision testing.
Melanie said J.J. is working to overcome developmental shortcomings with assistance of ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) and he is progressing.
“He recently said his first word,” Melanie said. “Da Da”
Melanie said part of the family’s day-to-day life means living a big part of their lives indoors. Other than medical-related outings, J.J. is for the most restricted to the family home. Bryan and Melanie take turns staying home with their bubbly bundle of joy while the other supports his siblings at school and sporting events.
The need for the home-bound life also means Melanie is a stay-at-home mom and Bryan is the sole bread winner.
In an effort to help the family with mounting bills, Tarleton student and former Texan baseball player Aaron Dalton and the university’s Society for Human Resource Management organized a raffle fundraising event.
Dalton said he hopes to raise enough funds to help the family just in time for Christmas and J.J’s birthday.
When asked why he felt the need to help the Conger family, Dalton said he saw a child who was sick and a family in need.
“I thought about it for a while and I just knew the more I thought about it that it was the right thing to do,” Dalton said.
Chances at winning a Wii are just one for $2 or three for $5 and may be purchased by contacting Dalton at 409-748-0973. The drawing will be held at about 4 p.m. Tuesday at Tarleton State University, and tickets may be bought through Tuesday afternoon. You do not have to be present to win.
Melanie said while everyone is busy decking the halls, her family will begin the first annual tradition of hanging “birthday lights” for J.J.