In January, Jack underwent brain decompression surgery, and in April, he will have surgery to have his tethered spinal cord released. Young Jack will spend four to seven days in the pediatric ICU in Detroit, followed by a month of minimal activity — a monumental challenge for any child, especially an active and adventurous one like Jack.
“He’s been a real trooper,” said Jack’s mother, Beth Hoos. “I don’t think things could have gone smoother for the first surgery. But now that he kind of knows what to expect, he’s a little more anxious and kind of really worried about this one.”
She decided to come up with some way to distract her son during his initial recovery.
While Jack is in surgery, the plan is to prepare his hospital room with rocks galore. Beth hopes it’s a total surprise.
“I was thinking I would set them up on the window sill, on the desk and on his tray,” Beth said. “And I’m going to have some special ones to kind of pull out throughout (his recovery) so I can be like, ‘Oh look at this cool one I found’ if he’s having a bad day, so he can focus on something else.”
As soon as baby Jack was able to pick things up, he has had a fascination with rocks, Beth said. Traditional kids’ toys never generated much excitement for Jack.
Beth hopes to collect enough rocks that as her son recovers at home, the family can make a rock garden for Jack to play in and take his mind away from the seriousness of his surgery.
“He’s super energetic — he’s always on the go, he cares about other people a lot and wants to make everybody happy,” Beth said. “He’s a good little guy.”
After a call-out on Facebook, the Hoos family has already received a small bucket worth of rock donations. Beth said Jack would appreciate any and all rocks — shiny, painted, strange, boring — he’s obsessed with them all.
A local group of rock enthusiasts even told Beth they were getting together to paint rocks specially for Jack.
The family has set up a post office box to accept collections. Anyone wanting to send Jack a rock should mail it to PO Box 92, Alpha, OH 45301. Beth’s only request was for rock donations to be about softball sized or smaller.