How you can help boy with terminal illness reach goal of 100,000 birthday cards

Jacob Priestly turns 15 in August. But he faces an uphill battle to get there. (CNN NewsSource)

Jacob Priestley looks forward to his birthday all year long.

Reading birthday cards gives him a reason to smile.

"It's amazing," he said. "I don't know how to explain - it's heartwarming."

Jacob turns 15 in August.

But he faces an uphill battle to get there.

Jacob has mitochondrial disease.

It drains him of all energy and leaves him bed-bound.

The disease shuts down parts of his body.

There's no cure.

"Eventually, it's going to take over the heart," said Tom Priestly, his father.

Right now, Jacob as one wish: to get 100,000 birthday cars.

A stack of well-wishes from all over the country have already come in.

"His overall goal is to use his name and who he is, devote his life to trying to raise awareness so we can find a cure for it," his father said.

At 14, Jacob has already defied the odds. He plans to make each day count.

"We're just going to put a smile on our face, go through life, and say: throw what you got at me because we got each other," his father said. "We'll get through this."

They hope that with each card, there's more awareness of mitochondrial disease and more reason for Jacob to smile.

If you'd like to send a birthday card, the family asks that you send it to:

Jacob Priestley
P.O. Box 855
Queen Creek, AZ 85142

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