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    Temple, TX News | Family raising awareness for Emanuel syndrome

    Austin Jak Cavanaugh was told he would never walk, but on Oct. 9, he took his first steps. Now his family is giving back to Central Texans who gave so much to them.

    TEMPLE, Texas — An inspiring 8-year-old boy in Temple, Texas is continuing to defy the odds. 

    Austin Jak Cavanaugh was diagnosed with Emanuel syndrome on Aug. 31, 2015.

    The disorder affects Cavanaugh’s 11th and 22nd chromosomes. He is one of 500 people who have reported the chromosomal disorder worldwide.

    Cavanaugh’s family says doctors told them their son would never be able to walk or talk.

    “He has overcome and adapted and conquered so many different obstacles in his little, almost nine-year life,” Todd Cavanaugh, Austin’s father said. “He’s had, up to this point, 27 surgeries, and two days ago, on Monday the 9th, he defied all the doctors, and he started walking.”

    While Austin Cavanaugh continues to persevere, his family soaks in every moment they can. They call him their hero, with a smile that lights up the room. 

    “We make a big deal out of every holiday, every event, every first day,” Todd Cavanaugh added. “We never know when his last will be.”

    Three years ago, Todd Cavanaugh asked Central Texans if they could wish his son a happy birthday. He says the outpour from the community is something he never expected.

    “The amount of birthday cards that he received covered four of his walls and two of my hallways,” Todd Cavanaugh said.

    That’s exactly why the Cavanaugh family felt called to give back to Central Texans who gave so much to their son.

    “We moved here five years ago, and this is just the place for us, Temple, Texas,” Todd Cavanaugh explained. “All around the world has been good to him, but you know, Temple in general, they showed us the reason why we moved here. So this year, I purchased a Jeep and just thought it would be really cool to reach out to other Jeepers out there and say, ‘Hey, let’s get together, let’s make this an annual thing.'”

    The family is preparing their first annual Jak-O-Ween Jeep or Treat for Central Texas!

    “He loves sitting in our Jeep, and I thought it would be really cool for him to see all of these Jeeps,” said Todd Cavanaugh. “It’s not a benefit. It’s just me giving back to the community.”

    The event will be held at the parking lot of Temple High School on Sunday, Oct. 29. The Cavanaugh family is inviting all Jeep drivers to attend in addition to any food trucks. They are also looking for someone to donate their time to DJ. 

    “Three years later, and look what’s happening,” Todd Cavanaugh said. “The community, it’s all going to come together again.”

    The family has a GoFundMe to help Austin. To donate and learn more about Austin’s story, click here.

    More stories by Reporter Sydney Dishon:


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