Like most young boys, John grew up with a love for the outdoors and had a passion for sports, including baseball, basketball and football. But in the summer of 2004, after John developed mononucleosis, a common viral infection, his parents noticed something was wrong.
Within hours of taking him to the doctor, they discovered that an extremely rare form of muscle-eating bacteria was ravaging through John's 17-year-old body. They said John had only eight hours to live, and that to keep the disease from spreading, they would need to amputate his legs and part of his arm immediately.
For four days, John was so heavily sedated, he had no idea the magnitude of his illness or even that he'd been through surgery. It wasn't until it was all over he was told the devastating news. Doctors said that because the amputation was so severe, John would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
But it was John's own determination that got him out of the hospital and into physical therapy. For the past eight months John has been working hard to rebuild his life. Today he can swim and even drive on his own.
This amazing teen has a legion of fans. Family, friends—even complete strangers—wrote in to tell us about John's courage and the one big passion that keeps him going: the New York Yankees. So we enlisted a superstar athlete, a billionaire tycoon and an entire city to hit John's dream right out of the ballpark!