Jonathan Sweeney is Regatta Grand Marshall

Jonathan Sweeney

LOCK HAVEN — He loves to laugh and make others laugh. He enjoys playing video games, board games and watching YouTube videos.

His interests are those of most 12 year-old boys.

Jonathan M. Sweeney, 12, of Centre Hall, is a quick-witted boy with a good sense of humor who doesn’t let his illness get him down.

Diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy when he was two years old, Jonathan will be the Grand Marshall at this year’s Jaycee’s Regatta.

And he can’t wait.

He’s never been to the regatta and is anxious to see the boats racing down the Susquehanna River. He’s always excited about the food and games that will be there.

A student at Mount Nittany Middle School, Jonathan lives his life as fully as he can.

“His positive attitude has been such a blessing, especially during illnesses and a major surgery,” said his mother, Mary.

He is prone to respiratory illnesses and has been hospitalized with pneumonia several times, she said.

In 2016 he had a total spinal fusion and rods put in his back to correct scoliosis and kyphosis, she added.

Even through all of the hardship, he manages to keep a positive outlook.

Jonathan likes to talk and enjoys sharing random information he learns, she said.

Each spring Jonathan plays Challenger Baseball and in 2015 was a part of the Challenger team that played at the Little League World Series.

Every summer he enjoys going away for a week to the Muscular Dystrophy Association camp.

“The count down is already happening for next June,” Mary said.

He also participates in the Special Olympics through the school every year.

“He won a gold medal in a track event,” his mother said, sharing the excitement of the fete.

Jonathan lives at home with his older sisters Hanna, 20, and Adriana, 15, as well as their shih tzu Gunner.