Jussie Smollett has made a New Jersey boy’s journey to school much easier thanks to a generous gift.
The “Empire” actor gifted 6-year-old Kayden Kinckle with a wheelchair accessible van so he can get to and from his new school with ease. Kayden, who resides in Englewood, N.J., with his mother, is a double leg amputee.
Smollett used social media to learn about the child’s story, which saw Kayden, who uses a wheelchair, having to wait until a regular school bus dropped the other children off to come back to pick him up with an aide to carry him on and off the bus, CBS New York reported in September. The issue with the Englewood Public School District only cropped up when Kayden began first grade this year. His mom, Nicole Sessoms, said a bus equipped with an elevator lift used to transport him to and from school since Pre-K.
“He’s the only double amputee in Bergen County [New Jersey] where we live,” she told Vibe on Tuesday, Oct. 16. “They had a bus the prior two years and this year they forgot about him, [after] he switched to a new school.”
According to EPSD, they told CBS NY there was a mix up with paperwork that caused the issue. The district said it hired a lift-bus through a different agency so Kayden could use that as transportation until a permanent solution is found.
But Smollett has since stepped in and got in touch with Sessoms about his own resolution.
“He saw what was happening with the bus and he called me and said ‘Kayden needs his own van!'” Sessions told Vibe.
She also noted Smollett hasn’t ended his involvement with her son there. Instead, he’s become a family friend. She said the star, who met Kayden two years ago, tries to spend time with her son whenever he can squeeze it into his schedule.
The star had a van delivered to Kayden’s home while the elementary school student and his family were hanging out with Smollett in New York City.
And while Smollett’s involvement in Kayden’s life is welcome, the child still has another surgery ahead of him. It’s meant to correct one of his limbs from being “contracted outward,” which happened after the second amputation. Kayden was born with birth defects and his umbilical cord was wrapped around his legs and a foot, leading to the limbs being deformed and later amputated.
“If he lays on his back or on his stomach his leg isn’t flat unless he puts it that way. The surgery is to loosen the muscles,” Sessions said.
Meanwhile, the family has launched a GoFundMe to raise money for a motorized wheelchair to ease his ability to get around when he gets tired of walking with his prosthetics.