Chris Dejesus is a polite and charming nine-year-old boy from Throggs Neck.
He loves signing, playing basketball, and even gets his homework done on time.
But since the age of three, Chris has been fighting speech apraxia.
It’s an uncommon, inhibiting speech disorder that also affects his motor skills.
Chris mainly uses an iPad to communicate; he can also sound out some phonetics, such as when he predicted the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the NBA finals this season.
Despite these challenges, Chris is taking his young life in stride.
“He amazes us every day. The fact that he’s non-verbal and has still made so many gains,” said Chris’ father, Michael Dejesus. “He reads, he’s doing excellent with math and understands things conceptually,” he added.
Chris and his family were out for a walk some weeks ago when they made their way into JJ Busco’s Deli.
After ordering, Chris’ mother, Addy Ordiz approached the staff telling them about Chris and his journey.
Busco’s immediately wanted to join Chris’ team, coming up with a sandwich to name for Chris during Apraxia Awareness Week from May 14 through May 20.
Called ‘The Little Giant,’ the hero for the tyke is packed with grilled chicken topped with bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and ketchup.
The name was chosen by his mother, in recognition of Chris’ life and all that’s he’s overcome and accomplished.
“We’re all about the neighborhood and helping out wherever we can, we thought it was a great cause and we were excited to be a part of it,” said JJ Busco, the deli’s owner.
During Apraxia Awareness Week, Busco’s deli sold a whopping 123 Little Giant sandwiches.
When Chris came into the deli on Monday, May 21, his eyes lit up when he saw JJ and a Little Giant hero with a side of fried mac and cheese balls.
While his motor skills may have development issues, that didn’t stop Chris from dancing to the Frankie Valli song that was playing inside the deli.
Chris has also become a sensation around the Bronx.
He’s personal friends with Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Chris puts his hand over his head as a way of poking fun at the borough president’s hairless dome.
It’s his way of saying hello to his political friend and ally.
Assemblyman Michael Bendetto, Senator Jeff Klein and Councilman Mark Gjonaj have also formed fond relationships with the little giant.
His parents are overwhelmingly grateful for the support that her son receives from the Bronx community.
Besides the limelight and attention, Chris has a big summer ahead.
His family recently added a new member to their clan, a puppy, that they intend to train to become a service dog for their son.
Chris even named the dog himself, phonetically sounding out ‘hamma’ after a hammer.
Chris is also getting a specially configured bicycle to ride on during nice days, especially when he gets an urge for a JJ Busco’s Little Giant hero.