Author, Advocate & Adventure-Seeker JT JESTER to Host 62 Mile Stand Up Paddle Board Fundraising Event To Benefit Children with Special Needs
Detroit-native, best-selling author, speaker, advocate, and adventure-seeker JT Jester continues to defy the odds, announcing his next fund-raising challenge – stand-up paddle boarding 62 miles through the waterways of Detroit. Starting at the Blue Water Bridge (Port Huron) and ending at the Belle Isle Bridge (Detroit), The BlueBelle SPU Challenge is set to take place in late September (date determined by weather), and seeks to raise $62,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities and other nonprofits that partner with the mission of the JT Mestdagh Foundation.
“We hope that we can use this adventure to raise funds, bring awareness, and support to families facing incredible financial hardships and stress caused by specific medical and educational issues,” JT shares. “My parents wouldn’t settle for less than world-class care for me, and so we spent much of my childhood living at Ronald McDonald Houses. We want to help ease this burden for families, and let parents just concentrate on helping and healing their children.”
It is not an exaggeration to call JT a medical miracle. By the time he was three years old, JT had spent 250 days being treated at St. John’s Hospital and endured sixteen major surgeries at various hospitals including St John’s and Children’s Hospital of Michigan before he was sixteen. Diagnosed with VATER/VACTERL Syndrome, a rare combination of several birth defects, JT’s life was anything but easy.
On top of his physical challenges, he suffered dyslexia and short-term memory loss, which made learning nearly impossible for him. Yet JT pushed past his physical and educational roadblocks to achieve what many people told him he would never do—learn to read, graduate from University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe, graduate college, and become a successful motivational speaker, bestselling author, and influential podcast host.
In early 2022, Jester released NO BAD DAYS: How to Find Joy in Any Circumstance (Forefront Books). In NO BAD DAYS, JT details the incredible story of how he overcame what seemed like insurmountable odds and shares the many invaluable lessons he has learned throughout his life in the hope that others might reach their full potential. These lessons include how to Find Your Tribe, Pull Off the Label, Stretch Yourself, Listen to Others, and Learn to Fall. He also parallels inspiring stories of everyday people who have overcome incredible difficulties. JT invites us into his incredible journey of finding joy in all circumstances and holding tightly to faith.
Then, on August 30th, JT will release the children’s book How the Sailfish Got its Name. This book was penned while JT was a 7 year-old receiving medical treatments. A portion of the proceeds from the children’s book will also be funneled back to fund the work of the JT Mestdagh Foundation.
JT continues, “I hope you’ll join us in the BlueBelle SUP Challenge. Through this 62-mile paddle, I pray that we can create an experience that inspires people to do what seems impossible, and use every inch of our resources and energy to help and encourage others.”