Jaxon Strong really is the little boy who defied all the odds. Doctors first told his parents he wouldn’t survive pregnancy. Then, when he was born a year ago, they gave him just a few days to live. And now Jaxon’s just celebrated his 1st birthday.
Jaxon Emmett Buell, nicknamed Strong by his many Facebook fans and admirers round the world, has a rare, incurable neural-tube condition, called microhydranencephaly, that meant he was born with parts of his brain and skull missing.
Doctors had picked up the condition during a routine pregnancy scan and advised his parents to terminate the pregnancy. Parents Brittany and Brandon, who live in Tavares, Florida, refused, saying, “Who are we to decide? We were given a child, we are given a chance and we have to be his voice.”
And now Jaxon, who turned 1 last month, continues to amaze doctors and show improvements every day. “Jaxon has already shown how strong, smart, and special he is,” his dad Brandon posted on Facebook, “accomplishing feats that doctors doubted he’d ever be able to do, [and reaching] a miraculous milestone in celebrating his 1st birthday,”
“It’s hard not to think about how this all started and where we are today. Most importantly, Jaxon is still here with us, still learning, still developing, still thriving. He’s back to smiling at us, always so happy in the morning after he wakes up, and takes turns looking at both Mommy’s and Daddy’s face, seemingly as if he is so excited to start another day.
“He is talking up a storm these days, truly teaching himself how to communicate with us in his own way, in his own language, and we actually understand it after learning with him for these 13 months. He says ‘Mama’, and he says ‘Ah Ah’ (Dadda), and ‘Addy’ (Daddy).”
His parents thanked everyone who’d supported them in the past year but also shared how difficult it had been to cope with some people’s misunderstanding about his Jaxon’s condition – and about their decision to go public with their story in order to raise funds for Jaxon’s complicated care needs.
Brandon says that when they take Jaxon out in public, they “always feel the looks, the stares, and the glances, usually from people that don’t even realise that they’re doing it.”
“There are so many things about Jaxon, our family, and his story that are completely misunderstood,” he wrote. “It’s baffling to hear or see other people’s opinions on our baby – people who have never met him, who somehow know how he thinks, how he acts, how he feels, how much of what he does is voluntary or involuntary, how he is always in pain, and that we are selfish parents for not choosing to have an abortion, and for having a Facebook and a Go Fund Me page for him.”
When Jaxon was born on 27 August 2014, his mum Brittany gave up her job to care for her son full-time and has since launched a crowdfunding page to help with Jaxon’s medical bills. So far, the couple have raised over £41,000 of their £46,000 target – with donations pouring in from around the world.
“Ultimately, Jaxon will need a miracle long-term,” Brandon says. “We continue to ask for support and prayers, as it is a blessing that his mom continues to stay home with him for constant care, nurturing and development.”
They’re now looking for funding for Jaxon’s 2nd year of life. If you’d like to help, you can donate to Jaxon’s page here.
Update: And it seems that even a story of survival like this doesn’t have the viper-tongued Katie Hopkins softening. In her typical shock-tactics style, she posted a rather harsh Twitter post to her fans: “Plain wrong. If your baby has half a head, you don’t have it. Cruel and inhumane.”
But the couple aren’t phased by such comments and Braxton revealed that people like Katie are in the minority: “We will never understand how anyone could ever have a negative or hurtful comment to say about an innocent special needs child, but those poor souls are by far the minority, and they should see our inbox from the masses who love our son, our family, his story, and are inspired by him because he continues to fight and because we chose life in the first place.” We’re glad to hear it…
Photos: Facebook / Jaxon Strong