Like many young boys, John grew up with a love for the outdoors and 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 hospital, doctors discovered that an extremely rare form of muscle-eating bacteria was ravaging John's 17-year-old body. To keep the disease from spreading, doctors amputated his legs and part of his arm.
This amazing teen's family, friends—even complete strangers—wrote in to tell Oprah about John's courage and the one big passion that keeps him going: the New York Yankees.
The Wildest Dreams team planned a pep rally at John's school, with a special surprise guest:New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter! Derek took John to the exclusive Yankee clubhouse and let him warm up on the field with the team.
But, of course, that wasn't all—to help pay for John's medical expenses and his prosthetic legs, Kleenex brand tissue gave John a check for $50,000. Plus, when we heard that John's parents, John Sr. and Barbara, were forced to cancel their 25th wedding anniversary because of the medical costs, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line agreed to send them—and their children and 10 closest friends—on an all expenses-paid, seven-night, luxury cruise!