Family collecting 1,600 birthday cards for son's sweet 16
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Celebrating the sweet-sixteen birthday can bring extravagant parties and brand new cars. But one Tucson boy will spend his very special birthday opening more cards than he can count.
Jacob Mockbee is limited physically, but with his limitless spirit, he's become a spokesperson for Children's Miracle Network and Tucson Medical Center.
"I like helping raise money for kids who are sick," Jacob said.
Since the day Jacob was born, his parents say it has been a fight to survive.
"He never asks why me," Jacob's mom Stacie said. "There were several doctors who didn't think he'd make it to his first birthday."
More than 50 surgeries later, Jacob turns 16 on June 16. A month before reaching this milestone birthday, his dad Jeff decided to collect 16-hundred birthday cards.
Spreading the word via Facebook, Jacob has already received close to 700 cards from 25 states and as far away as Europe.
"He keeps on talking about driving someday at age 16," Jeff said, "so we've kind of kept him out of the loop because we want to surprise him."
Jacob, an avid sports fan, doesn't know there's a card from former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and a package from the Phoenix Suns. There are also cards from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the University of Memphis basketball team.
"We're rooting for (University of) Arizona to pull something out," Jeff said.
And after going to prom with Miss Arizona Piper Stoeckel, Miss America Mallory Hagan sent Jacob a special video message.
"I'm here to wish you a happy 16th birthday," she says.
This year Jacob's birthday falls on Father's Day.
"We weren't ever sure that he would get this far," said Jeff, holding back tears, "and so every day is pretty precious."
And that's why celebrating his son's birthday is the most precious gift this father could ask for.