Doctors predicted that Jackson Emmett Buell would only live for a few days when he was born in Florida, U.S.A. He has just celebrated his first birthday.
Jaxon, whose nickname is Jaxon Strong, was born with an extreme birth defect called Microhydranencephaly, where the brain and skull don’t form properly.
It is estimated that about one in 4,859 babies are born with this rare condition in America, but most die in the womb or shortly after birth.
“We did everything we could to give him a fighting chance and all he’s done since being born is fight right back,” Jaxon’s dad, Brandon Buell, said.
Brittany Buell, 27, said she was devastated at the thought her son wouldn’t survive. “It was heart breaking because something I always wanted my whole life was happening, but then I was told there was a possibility it might be a stillborn,” she said.
Brandon and Brittany were given the option to terminate the pregnancy at 23 weeks. They refused.
Jaxon survived the pregnancy and spent several weeks in hospital as brain surgeons tried to understand his rare condition.
“It was very emotional. I remember holding him on day two and listening to the doctors say my son would probably never walk, never talk, never know when he’s hungry, or never hear or see. They really did not expect him to make it,” Mr Buell said.
Yet against all odds and predictions not only has Jaxon made it, his parents say that he is thriving.
“I try to stay positive 99 percent of the time but there is that one percent because I know the reality of the situation – that we’re probably going to outlive him,” Mrs Buell said.
Mr Buell’s work colleagues setup a GoFundMe page 12 months ago to help his family. The page is still active and you can visit it here.
Jaxon Strong is also bringing hope and inspiration to many families with his Facebook page.
Happy 1st birthday from the team at UNILAD young Mr Strong!
Jaxon plays with his new basketball and talks to Mama and Dadda! He gets really excited about his new present and works hard to grab for it and talk about it. And, at the very end, if you listen closely, you can hear that Jaxon felt something coming, too. :) Our little guy is definitely feeling better again and is learning so much! #JaxonStrong
Posted by Brandon Buell on Monday, 21 September 2015