Skyler Pfromm, 14, of Clinton Township, and his family take a photograph with Detroit Pistons center James Wiseman and broadcaster Jay Towers at Emagine Royal Oak Nov. 28.

Skyler Pfromm, 14, of Clinton Township, and his family take a photograph with Detroit Pistons center James Wiseman and broadcaster Jay Towers at Emagine Royal Oak Nov. 28.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

Annual Jay’s Juniors trip set to fly to Disney World

By: Mike Koury | Metro | Published December 4, 2023


METRO DETROIT — At a special gathering on Nov. 28, the families taking part in the 2023 Jay’s Juniors trip to Walt Disney World met for the first time.

The families met at Emagine Royal Oak before they all were to take their trip to Orlando, Florida, Dec. 5-9.

This is the ninth year of Jay’s Juniors, organized by broadcaster Jay Towers, of radio station WNIC and Fox 2 Detroit. Towers said he and his team started the program as a way to help kids with life-altering and threatening illnesses to get an escape from doctors and hospitals and have fun.

“I’ve been on radio in Detroit for a really long time, and during the holidays, I would get emails or letters back then from people saying, ‘My son or daughter is sick, would you be able to help this holiday season?’ and I wanted to find a way to do a program that just centered around kids around the holidays,” he said.

The trip is all expenses paid, covering the charter plane, hotel, food, park passes and spending money. This year’s trip will have more than 20 families and kids heading to Disney World.

This includes 14-year-old Skyler Pfromm and his family, of Clinton Township. According to Pfromm’s mother, Christina Kurzatkowski, the fluid in Pfromm’s body that belongs in the lymphatic system instead goes into his tissue, which causes him to hold fluid in his face, arms, legs and other parts of his body. He also has hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

“Skyler was born with half of a heart,” Kurzatkowski said. “He has one functioning lung, and then he has had four open-heart surgeries. He had a heart attack when he was 10 while he was at school, which caused him to go into active heart failure. It did a really big damage on his heart. He was denied a heart transplant because of the fact that he has one functioning lung and half of a heart. So we’re just taking the palliative care route.”

Pfromm’s hypoplastic left heart syndrome is what qualified him for the trip. Along with his mother, he will be going with his father, Dennis Kurzatkowski, and sister, 3-year-old Emalyn Kurzatkowski.

Pfromm said he’s excited to check out all the rides at Disney, see Grogu, aka “Baby Yoda,” and make a lightsaber.

“I’ve been, like, once when I was tiny, but I’m happy I get to go again because I don’t remember much about it,” he said.

“It means a lot actually (to be able to go on the trip),” Pfromm continued. “I’m very thankful for what (the program is) doing for me and everyone else here today. It’s just amazing.”

Christina Kurzatkowski said that to be able to go on this trip with Pfromm and her family, and especially to this level, is something they never could have been able to do.

“Obviously, things are so expensive these days. It’s crazy. So we are so beyond grateful to have this opportunity and to just experience this with both of our kids,” she said.

Anthony LaVerde, chief executive officer of Emagine, also will be going on the trip this year as a volunteer. Emagine also has been donating a portion of every popcorn sold throughout the holiday season to Jay’s Juniors.

“The amount of work that goes into (the trip) makes it easy for the families, I think, and allows them to truly enjoy the experience with less stress of planning it,” he said. “I hope they don’t think about anything other than having a good time.”

Towers said planning this trip each year and seeing all the families’ reactions when they get to Disney World is the greatest feeling in the world.

“It’s very humbling,” he said. “There’s not a problem in the world that we have that can match what so many of these kids have gone through, and how strong they are and how tough they are. You don’t have any complaints about your own life when you do this trip.”

For more information about the program, visit