Justin Timberlake Surprises Teen With Cerebral Palsy With $35K Wheelchair-Accessible Van

by Julie Scagell
justin timberlake donates van to teen
Sam Luther/Twitter

Timberlake heard about the fundraising effort to buy Jake a van

Justin Timberlake put his fame to good use recently after hearing about a teen from his hometown who was in desperate need of a wheelchair-accessible van.

The Tennessee native heard about Jake Stitt, a 17-year-old with cerebral palsy, and his family who were trying to raise funds to buy an adaptable vehicle for his wheelchair. Stitt is somewhat of a local celebrity according to actor Michael Abbott Jr., who told WJHL, “Jake sits outside the house and has a sign that says ‘honk if you’re happy.’ He’s an incredible young man.”

Abbott promised Stitt that they would raise enough money by Thanksgiving to pay for the van and worked with Superior Van and Mobility in Knoxville to find an option for him for $35,000. But when Timberlake caught wind, he purchased it outright for the family.

“We have a regular van,” Jake’s dad, Tim, told the outlet. “Jake depends on us to get him in and out of the van, so we have to physically pick him up out of the wheelchair and put him in the van.”

“It’s my pleasure,” Timberlake told Stitt during a call with the teen. “Like I said, I heard that there was a goal to try to get this van before Thanksgiving and I heard your story and I saw a little news clip about it. I was so moved that I want you guys to have this van. I’m going to cover all the costs. I want you to have a great holiday. You inspire me, Jake.”

The $35,000 that community members donated towards the purchase will now go to Stitt family for expenses.

The van was delivered to Stitt’s home and you can see by his reaction how excited he is to have the new wheels. “The Morristown family will be honking a different horn courtesy of TN native @jtimberlake! The recording artist saw how Jacob and his dad were in desperate need of an accessible van and decided to step in and gift them with new wheels today!” Gwendolyn Ducre aired on Twitter.

“He caught the story and was just very touched with what was going on with this thing and he wanted to reach out and decided that he wanted to purchase the van for Jacob and his needs,” his dad explained about Timberlake. “It was just a very blessing to be able to speak to that gentleman and for him to be able to meet Jake and see what he needed.”

It’s incredible the selflessness of Abbott and Timberlake to give Stitt and his family the ability to be mobile and safe. Well done.