SOUTH THOMASTON, Maine — Despite a grim medical prognosis for 15-year-old Jacob Paquette, friends of his family are heartened by the outpouring of support they have received as they plan a benefit day later this month to help the Paquettes defray expenses.
Jacob, who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when he was 8, suffered a medical emergency June 10 due to complications from the disease and has been in a “persistent vegetative state” since, according to Heather Willis, a longtime friend of the Paquettes. He is now at Maine Medical Center in Portland.
“Everybody wanted to do something,” Willis said. “Everyone is still praying for a miracle, and a miracle is definitely what it’s going to take.”
The Jacob Paquette Benefit Day planned for Saturday, July 25, features live and silent auctions, a 5k road race, a car wash, a lobster stew dinner and a benefit softball game.
Organizer and family friend Becky Butler said her phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from people who want to donate items or to help.
“Everybody loves that whole family so much,” she said. “This is how we can help. We think the world of them. We know that if it were us, they’d be doing the exact same thing.”
Jon and Pam Paquette have been instrumental in raising money and exposure for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, she said. In 2004 the couple helped form Bikers Against Diabetes, and in the new group’s first fundraising ride they raised $10,000 for the American Diabetes Association. More money for research has rolled in over the years.
“We wanted to do something more in helping cure diabetes,” Jon Paquette told the Bangor Daily News in 2005.
Jacob is a “really good kid,” Willis said.
“He loves to skateboard. He’s really laid-back — a typical kid,” she said.
His mother and grandmother run the Keag Store in South Thomaston, Willis said. Jacob is an only child, and is “like a son” to his grandmother, Butler said. “Diabetes never kept him down,” she added.
Although the family has had medical insurance, his parents have incurred many expenses and spent most of their time over the past month at Jacob’s side in the hospital.
Willis said that she hopes the benefit will be a help to the family.
“We want to do whatever we can,” Willis said.
Butler said the community is really pulling together for Jacob and his family.
“Everybody is constantly keeping that whole family in their prayers,” she said.
Events on Saturday, July 25 will begin with an 8 a.m. 5k road race at the South Thomaston Fire Department. The winner will receive 25 pounds of lobster. The donation car wash begins at 10 a.m., and registration for the benefit softball games begins at 11 a.m. Games start at noon at the Rockland District High School softball field. Entry fee is $200 per team, $20 per person. The lobster stew dinner begins at 5 p.m. at Rockland District Middle School and the live and silent auctions begin at 7 p.m.
For information, contact Becky Butler at 975-9228, Heather Willis at 596-7270 or Kerry Smith at 542-6172.