We are so excited to kick off our “Chronically Caring Kids” by sharing Jaxson’s story. Jaxson was the first kiddo who donated to Purple Playas Foundation. Like us, he knows how powerful it is to give the gift of SMILES! Jaxson was proudly the 2019 Marine Military Child of the Year. With a portion of his award funds, he donated $1,000 to the Purple Playas Foundation to help support sending kids to Camp Boggy Creek summer camp! Talk about the gift that keeps on giving…
So, it is with much honor to share Jaxson’s story. This 14 year old (it’s his birthday month), will surely inspire you too, through what he has both endured and his giving heart. Jaxson was diagnosed with Systemic-Onset Juvenile Arthritis at 7 years old and later acquired additional diagnoses of overlapping autoimmune/inflammatory diseases including Ankylosing Spondylitis, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type III, IgA Nephropathy Kidney Disease, Asthma, Interstitial Lung Disease, and Autoimmune Retinopathy and Cancer Associated Retinopathy. Living with chronic illnesses can be a daily challenge. Jaxson deals with pain every day, but feels he has learned how to power through it. He feels he works twice as hard to get through daily task. He has difficulties with walking, seeing, getting out of bed, and writing. And he deals with many headaches and tremors in hands.
To say his medical issues are intense, is an understatement; but that doesn’t stop him from living life and sharing his amazing gifts and heart with others. When he was very young, he had a friend that didn’t have much food. So, he shared his own lunch with him each day at school. He said, “I found out he didn’t have much food at his home. So, we started a food drive at school.” This lead to his volunteer work at soup kitchens and collecting donations for food pantries and food boxes. He said he does this, “ …because that one friend sparked me to help others.” And this heart for giving has carried over into the chronic illness world. He feels that “challenges are meant to be overcome.” Jaxson annually participates in the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk. In addition, he has passionately volunteered throughout the years at Arthritis Foundation events throughout the nation. When he focuses on giving to others, he feels he doesn’t focus so much on his own pain.
Jaxson also knows how to have some fun. He loves music. It is both joyful and therapeutic. He proudly marches in his high school band, and has participated in the jazz band. Marching band is like a sport to him, a sort of “club”. Just call him “Jax on Sax”!
Good comes from chronic illness. Jaxson shared, “I have learned to advocate for myself. I have also learned how strong I am…Dealing with all abilities can make a positive impact. I have kept this as my motto…I live it.”