A 9-year-old boy from Atlantic Beach with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy(DMD) recently had his dream come true when he visited Jay Leno’s garage in Los Angeles —a dream that was achieved after experiencing significant adversity throughout his life.
Jake McGuire, a Dreams Come True of Jacksonville child and car enthusiast, was diagnosed with DMD at the age of 6 years old. In his first adopted home, he was badly mistreated and tortured. In February 2015, Jake and his sister Rylee were fortunately removed from this first adopted home and taken in by the McGuire family.
“This is when Jake and his sister (Rylee) were brought into our home in the middle of the night,” said Tammy McGuire, Jake’s adopted mother. “Jake couldn’t trust anyone, and it broke our spirit to see such an angry, sad and empty soul of a child.”
One week later, Jake went to the MDA Clinic in Gainesville, where the McGuires were told that his DMD was passed down from his biological mother. They learned there is no cure for the disease, and Jake will most likely be wheelchair-bound by age 10, with his life expectancy reaching somewhere in his early 20s. “Reality hit, both Jake and all of us on how real his diagnosis truly is,” said Tammy. “It brought great sadness each time a new doctor or specialist came into his room.”
Tammy said Jake knows he will not walk forever and that he will need a wheelchair and a special van for the wheelchair. As a result, she said he always points out Mercedes vans and other cars, emphasizing his desire to somehow get behind the wheel one day.
“He asks so many questions about driving and what car we will buy him when he gets old enough to drive,” she said. “His true love for cars has never wavered.”
As a result, it was this dreamer’s greatest wish to visit Jay Leno’s garage and take a tour of his extensive collection of classics. On Aug. 19, Jake learned that his dream would be coming true at a party held at Classic Storage of St. Augustine that was attended by family, friends and supporters of his dream.
Sidney Hobbs, the owner of the St. Augustine garage, sponsored Jake’s dream and garnered the necessary support to make it a reality. In celebration of the McGuire family’s upcoming trip, Hobbs and supporters of Jake’s dream gathered at the party and displayed a variety of classic and luxury sports cars for Jake and members of the community to see. Hobbs’ efforts raised more than $7,500 in support of the trip.
Jake and his family ultimately made the trip out West at the end of August to see the television icon’s array of cars. On the day of their visit, Leno just so happened to be there so the family also was able to meet him.
“For us to create this was magical,” said Ashley Smith, dream manager for Dreams Come True of Jacksonville.
In addition to visiting the garage, Jake’s dream included a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm to enjoy the dozens of rides, shows, roller coasters and other attractions at the theme park. The McGuires also experienced a behind-the-scenes tour of Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family” set at Universal to provide Jake with insight into one of his other primary interests, television.
“It was amazing,” said Tammy. “The dream was beyond any memorable occasion that anyone could hope or imagine.”
Moving forward, the McGuires are hopeful that a cure will one day be found for their son, who they know was brought into this world for a reason.
“We love our little guy,” said Tammy. “He has had to endure so much at such a young age and what very few others ever had to deal with. But, we know he was put on this earth to make a difference, touch lives and give our family a forever purpose.”