Updated: November 20, 2020 06:28 PM
Created: November 20, 2020 02:18 PM
An Ashland family has turned a negative experience into a positive through charity thanks to a mission called Jace's Jars of Hope.
Seven-year-old Jace Trettin has an immune deficiency and a rare disease called TRAPS that causes recurrent fevers. It involves numerous hospital visits to Duluth's Essentia Health and the University of Minnesota's Masonic Children's Hospital for treatment.
With several hours in the car driving to and from the hospital, the family started thinking of ways to make the long drive to the hospitals special and started an effort called Jace’s Jars of Hope.
"We have been asking people for five years to collect pop tabs for us. It makes our trips fun and interesting. We are able to bring those pop tabs down to the Ronald McDonald House," said Brooke Trettin, Jace's mom.
The organization recycles pop tabs in exchange for money to help families like the Trettin's.
"It's really important to us that we're giving back what has been given to us in return and we're just really really blessed by the Ronald McDonald House with all they've done for our family," said Brooke.
The family has met many people in the Northland and across the country through this effort that has gained a lot of support and attention.
"How does it make you feel when people give you the pop tabs?" Brooke asked Jace. "Happy," responded Jace.
"Does it give you something to look forward to when we go to Minneapolis?" Brooke asked Jace. "Yeah, it's fun carrying all the bags," said Jace.
The family has collected a whopping 7,500 pounds of pop tabs these past five years. They also host annual drives to give back and have raised close to $15,000.
"Do you feel like Santa when you go there and you deliver all those up pop tabs?" Brian, Jace's dad, asked Jace. "Yeah and we also give blankets to the hospital," said Jace.
A big supporter of the cause and inspiration to Jace is the Minnesota Gophers football team.
"Their motto is row the boat and that's something that's been really important and has stuck with our family," said Brooke.
Jace’s challenging health journey and mission has turned into a widespread message of hope, generosity, and strength.
"Everyone is dealt a deck of hands throughout their journey of life and it's all in how you respond to that. Although this could be something that was really negative and a devastating diagnosis for Jace we wanted to make sure that we turned it into something positive and that we could help other people," said Brooke.
For those interested in helping Jace's Jars of Hope, they can reach the family on Facebook or via email at email@example.com
On Friday the family found out they will be receiving a Make-A-Wish trip to go to Disney World.
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