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Friday
Mar102017

Teen donates to family’s nonprofit after toddler's story hits home

Carissa Carroll/Witt Family(SHOREVIEW, Minn.) -- A selfless teen has donated $1,500 of his own savings in honor of a boy whose story hit home.

Jordan Witt, 18, worked part-time since November to raise funds for Jack's Basket -- a nonprofit that provides new and expectant parents of children with Down syndrome with resources and support.

Jordan told ABC News that he was moved by Jack Carroll, the little boy who inspired the cause, as well as his own little brother Logan's story.

"Logan has really taught me the true meaning of unconditional love," said Jordan of Little Falls, Minnesota. "People often say, 'What joy has Logan given us even though he has Down syndrome?' Well, the answer is so easy. Our outlook on life has changed. Life is so much bigger than our own selves. He smiles, he laughs, every day is different with him. And that's so neat about it.

"As for what inspired me to donate, it's the love I have for the mission of Jack's Basket, what they do and the love I have for Logan."

The idea for Jack's Basket began in 2014, months after Jack Carroll, now 3, was born.

The organization delivers congratulatory baskets to new and expectant parents of babies with Down syndrome.

Jack's Basket was launched by Jack's mother, Carissa Carroll of Shoreview, Minnesota.

"When I was in the hospital, I really had to ask [the staff], 'Do you have any resources on Down syndrome?' They kind of hesitated and said, 'I think we have something,'" Carroll told ABC News. "After meeting more and more families ... finding out that most of them never received a congratulations after the birth their child, also a biased language -- 'Oh, I'm sorry,' kind of in a dismal way. It broke my heart. These babies deserve to be celebrated just like any other birth."

On Jack's first birthday, the very first Jack's Basket was delivered.

As of Friday, 293 babies have been celebrated through the mission since 2014.

Each basket features baby gifts, including a personalized onesie, up-to-date resources, literature and avenues of support from local and national organizations.

Carroll, now a mom of three, has 16 parent volunteers that help deliver baskets and connect with new families, she said.

Two weeks ago, Jack's Basket received the $1,500 donation from Jordan Witt, a teen who followed the toddler's story and later heard Carroll speak at an event near his hometown.

"I was just in tears because that brings so much hope," Carroll said of Jordan's gift to her cause. "Besides helping families, look at the young people that are saying, 'What can I do to help?' His inspiration comes from his brother and it really encouraged me ... it gives me hope for my son's siblings and just the message that we have the ability to have an impact on each other, and that people with Down syndrome are such a gift to us."

She added: "I would never change Jack if I could. There's so much unexpected joy in this journey. [I] think Jack has reminded us that every child has worth."

Jordan said Carroll inspires him to continue giving back.

"She really is a true hero in the eyes of our family," he said. "You're never too young to make a difference in your own community, or in the world. Every single dollar can change someone's life. That's my mission ... being 18, I have the rest of my life to keep changing people's lives."

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