Jelly Roll Meets a Young Cancer Patient With a Huge Heart for Giving Back [Pictures]
Most country fans know that Jelly Roll's got a huge passion for giving back to the community. He's especially supportive of incarcerated men and women: During his 2023 Backroad Baptism Tour, for example, he played multiple special shows at jails and rehab centers in the cities where he was booked for tour stops.
But when it comes to giving back to the community, the country star may have met his match in a 12-year-old fan from East Tennessee named Preston Wells.
Preston is a patient at East Tennessee Children's Hospital, where he is being treated for Stage 4 cancer, and he spends his free time writing cards and letters to prison inmates and military personnel. He's also a huge fan of Jelly Roll, a fact that came up after Preston wrote 136 cards for the troops and sent his collection to Knoxville radio show Joey and Nancy on 107.7 WIVK.
When the show hosts learned what a big Jelly fan Preston is, they determined to help spread the word to try to arrange a meeting between the two. Over Thanksgiving vacation, that hard work paid off.
"Look what happened today. Jelly Roll drove himself from Nashville to Knoxville to meet Preston at Neyland Stadium and go to the Tennessee game," show host Joey reveals in a TikTok update.
"Dreams come true, y'all. Thanks so much. This is awesome. Talk about giving thanks and being thankful. Wow."
East Tennessee Children's Hospital also documented the special moment, sharing photos of Jelly and Preston together when they met to watch the game. Preston even repped the home team with Tennessee orange overalls.
After the fact, Preston's mother Amanda described Jelly as "the most caring, sincere gentleman I've ever met," according to Music Mayhem.
"He didn't just come to see my son because a friend called in a favor, or for views. He told my baby that he was honored to meet him, and I honestly believe that," Amanda continues. "... It was much like he was the fan and Preston the celebrity. We will never be able to thank Jelly Roll enough for the joy he brought my son. He has been so sick for so long. He hasn't had much happiness or joy."
During their meeting, the young fan received a signed Jelly Roll hoodie, and the country star even gave him his gamer tag so they can play online video games together, like Call of Duty.
For his part, Jelly Roll is currently in the midst of a toy drive that he's hoping will be the largest in Nashville's history. Inspired by his teenage daughter's love for the cause, Jelly launched the 2023 toy drive in October, offering a free performance in the parking lot of a Walmart for the first 500 people to donate a toy. The drive will continue through Dec. 15 and direct donated toys to local families in need.
To view a full list of donation locations in middle Tennessee, go here.
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Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes