Six months ago baby Jett Boseman was born to proud first-time parents Cody and Tennille. Before Jett was born — literally throughout pregnancy with him — the couple, who recently moved from Salt Lake City to Omaha, loved to fly airplanes.
Tennille took her first solo flight when she was more than 30 weeks pregnant with Jett. In fact, it is their love of flying that inspired Jett’s name. But traveling is nearly impossible for the couple now.
The Boseman’s first surprise at the birth of their son was his cleft lip and pallet, neither of which were detected on an ultrasound. Eight weeks later, these parents were back in the hospital with Jett for respiratory issues. Tennille says after “a million tests later” Jett was diagnosed with Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia — an extremely rare genetic condition that could severely limit his lifespan.
With a nearly constant feeding tube and a gag reflex that requires what his 27-year-old mother describes as a “large suction machine” to be used on him about 20 times per day, traveling is nearly impossible for long distances. For parents who loved to fly and wanted to someday share this gift with their son, it is heartbreaking. Still, as the Blaze reported last week, the Bosemans have a new flight plan for Jett.
A month ago, friends in their Salt Lake City town, from which they recently moved for Cody to attend dentistry school in Nebraska, began a T-shirt campaign to help with the medical costs of Jett’s condition. From there though, the T-shirts have become a “traveling gnome-style” campaign with those purchasing them taking photos in different cities around the country and world, giving Jett the gift of travel.
As of today, Tennille says about 500 “Jett B.” T-shirts have been sold and even Glenn Beck has one, wearing it today for the first time on his morning radio show, his TV show, and hosting it on his clothing line website.
Watch the GBTV clip where Beck speaks of the Boseman family:
“The T-shirts were a goodbye gift,” Tennille said in a phone interview with the Blaze. “From there, it has gone crazy. I saw Glenn wearing it on the radio show this morning, took a screenshot of it and posted it on Facebook.”
Tennille said the response for the T-shirts has been overwhelming. Not just the interest in purchasing them, but the heartfelt and compassionate notes people have included to the parents.
Beck explained on GBTV that Jett has even gotten permission to take a trip — a very rare and special occurrence as traveling is very hard for him — to GBTV studios and will appear with his parents on Friday’s show.
“Jett is going to get on a jet,” Beck said. “He’s going to be here for a special father’s day episode.”
Petitioning those who feel drawn to help Jett and his family, Beck said, “This is who we really are. When the going gets tough, we pitch in and we help.”
Tennille explained that Jett has to be watched 24/7 — even in the middle of the night — because he could gag and be unable to breath. She said his feeding tube is working 20 hours per day. Jett also has daily seizures. When the couple was living in Utah, they had family close by to help them out. Now in Omaha, she said they are working on getting nursing assistance.
Tennille describes Jett’s condition as “life-limiting,” noting that most children with PCH don’t make it past age 2. Few, she said, reach an age older than 10.
“That’s the scariest part of our day to day,” Tennille said. “It could really come at any time.”
“He’s a very alert baby,” Tennille said. “He doesn’t make a lot of eye contact and we’re not sure how well he can see. But he knows exactly who we are. He has great hearing.”
When it comes to the daily struggles he faces, Tennille said “he just deals with it.”
Still, for Tennille, Jett’s story is about so much more than just himself or his parents.
“He represents a population in the world that is not quite understood. When I saw someone with special needs before, I was hesitant,” Tennille said, explaining how she wasn’t sure how to act around them. “Jett has taught me that special needs children are people too and they teach you in different ways.”
Up until recently, the family was taking requests for T-shirts via email and has since become swamped. To help with the orders, Glenn Beck has posted the T-shirts on his clothing line website — 1791 — for $20 each with all proceeds going to Jett’s family. Find the T-shirts here.