Jacksonville family brings awareness of cerebal palsy through social media

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – A family in the east is spreading awareness of a diagnosis by sharing videos on popular social media app.

Jake Shepherd of Jacksonville was diagnosed with cerebral palsy late in life. For nearly forty years, his family has been taking care of him day and night.

“It’s like having an infant,” said his mother Dana Sheperd. “They schedule your life, showers, and everything. It is really like having a baby.”

Randy and Dana Shepherd have the responsibility as parents to care for their son.

“It’s difficult,” said Randy Shepherd. “It’s a 24-hour job that doesn’t go away. You can’t retire from it and you can’t leave it at home when you go on vacation.”

With social media being such a big part of society today, Jenna Senat, Jake’s sister, decided to take the story to TikTok. In her videos, she talks about her experience and what Jake goes through. With the positive feedback, Senat says she’s grateful.

“It’s been really emotional for our whole family to know there are all those people out there who want to help,” shared Senat.

But after almost 40 years of taking care of Jake, Dana Shepherd says she wants to see a change. As of now, there is a 10-year wait for more help with getting paid.

“They need help,” said Dana Shepherd. “They need more services for people who can’t make it on their own.”

The Shepherd family is not the only one who goes through hardships like this. With the videos and feedback from the community, they want to encourage people to stay positive.

“Don’t give up,” said Randy Shepherd. “Be there for each other and the disabled child.”

Dana and her family decided as a whole to take care of Jake instead of putting him in a facility. They wanted to ensure he had the best possible care and was comfortable.

There is a Facebook page and GoFundMe to help raise money for a more accessible van for Jake and his family.