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New York, I Love You: Teenage Boy With Life-Threatening Illness Gets VIP Tour of NYC


An Arizona teenager living with a rare, terminal illness has received VIP treatment from New York's finest.

Jacob Priestley, 14, suffers from mitochondrial disease, which causes weakness and pain in the muscles, as well as physical and developmental disabilities. 

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His only wish, back in August, was to receive 10,000 birthday cards with loving notes wishing him well to help him get through his time of need.

When the NYPD heard of Jacob and his illness, they immediately sent thousands of cards and even kept in touch, forming a friendship with the teen and his family.  

"The whole idea came from the NYPD," Jacob's father, Tom Priestley, told InsideEdition.com. "The chief saw the video of Jacob receiving 28,000 birthday cards and they wanted to do something more for him." 

To make the start of his fourteenth year a bit more special, the kindhearted cops hatched a plan to surprise Jacob and his family with a VIP tour of one of the most famous cities in the world.

They flew in the Priestleys from Arizona, met them at the airport, and rolled out the red carpet for Jacob’s first visit to New York.

"Jacob's favorite word is 'awesome'. Everything was 'awesome' or 'cool' for him," Detective Kaz Daughtery told InsideEdition.com. "When I asked him what his favorite part of the day was, he replied: 'Waking up.'" 

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The teen attended a hockey and basketball game, visited the Radio City Music Hall where he took part in a blessing of the animals for the famous Christmas Spectacular show, and took bites out of some of the city’s best pizzas.

The family also visited the Statue of Liberty and other famous landmarks of the Big Apple.

In addition, Jacob had the pleasure of meeting United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. 

To remember his special day, Jacob received a proclamation from the Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams along with a few goodies and his very own Brooklyn cap.

Thanks to the generosity of the officers, this will be one day Jacob will never forget.

"Jacob teaches us to always cherish life," his father said. "There are people that may have less than us, but we should always stay strong and positive. 

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