Leeds friends band together to raise money to buy a bus for a boy in a wheelchair

James Lucas Jones, center, with his siblings, Julia Jones and Nick Smith.

James Lucas Jones was involved in an ATV accident when he was 4 years old. During surgery, he lost oxygen to his brain, leaving him permanently disabled and in need of 24-hour care. He is now 12, and the Jones family says they need a van to accommodate his wheelchair.

“It’s hard,” said Pam Jones, his mother. “We struggle. He goes to school for half days at Leeds Middle School. We’ve gotten some help from the local churches and the community. Family, really.”

Friends of the Jones family have come together to help raise money to pay for a van or bus.

On June 22, Highway 55 Burgers, Shakes and Fries in Leeds will host a pancake breakfast to help the family of James Lucas Jones purchase a wheelchair van.

A breakfast of pancakes, bacon, orange juice and soft drinks will be served from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the location at 8525 Whitfield Ave.

Advance tickets are $6. The hosts of the event hope to sell most tickets in advance so they can be well-prepared for the event. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Highway 55 in Leeds by Wal-Mart and at GameStop or by calling 205.699.1289 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The event came to life thanks to Clair Gibson, a friend of Pam’s daughter, Julia, from the time they spent working together at Highway 55. Gibson saw an opportunity to lend a hand to her friend’s family and discussed the possibilities with her manager.

As for Julia, she recently graduated from Leeds High School as salutatorian. She’ll head to the University of Montevallo this fall with a scholarship to study musical theater. Remaining close to home will be beneficial, as Pam will continue to rely on her assistance in caring for her brother.

“She’s helped me so much,” Pam said of her daughter. “I’m going to miss her being here all the time, though, even if it’s just 30 miles away.”

This will be the second fundraiser for the effort. Last fall, the Kendra Scott location at the Summit hosted a percentage of sales event for the family.

For those unable to attend the pancake breakfast, a gofundme account has been set up on behalf of the family, and contributions to the cause can be made online. The gofundme has a goal of $10,000 to purchase transportation for James Lucas, and it has reached about 20% of its goal.

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