The Ashland Beacon
When Jaxson “Jax” Holland was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year, it was devastating for the now eight-year-old Jax and his family. One of the things that the family has been able to count on, is the ability of the staff at his pediatric oncologist office to do whatever they can to help Jax and the rest of the family through some of the worst days by always having a supply of snacks, juice boxes, and new toys on hand. During the month of September, Jax is on a mission to give back to the office by taking up donations to restock their supplies.
Jax’s mother, Hollie May, said that they have been talking about how to “give back to the ones that have helped us through what is yet to be the hardest time of our life.” The staff at the office have many times “fed my children who love to snack.” Every child that comes in for a new admission or for a procedure is given the chance to go into the toy room and pick out a new toy. A child can also pick out a new toy if they are having a particularly hard day. May explained that sometimes “the toys that were given to Jax were the only thing that had brought a smile to his face that day.” Unfortunately, the pediatric oncology office sees new admits all the time.
Jax is very excited about the possibility of being able to help other kids. Although, if he could, he would “give every kid a Nintendo Switch,” the family has decided to ask for donations of things that are easier for everyone to buy. They are asking for donations of toys and books. Jax’s personal favorites are Legos and similar types of toys that he can connect together to build and create things. Other popular items include the trendy fidget and pop-it type toys, dolls, hot wheels, building blocks, books, coloring books with crayons, and games.
The family is also asking for donations of snacks that children and their family members can have while waiting on a procedure to be completed or gift cards to help families that have to travel a long way to the hospital for treatments. Jax “really likes to get gift cards,” said his mother, “especially if it’s Starbucks. He has become a huge fan of Starbucks.” Gift cards for gas and food are both popular items in the doctor’s office. Ideas for snacks include assorted snack packs, cookies, Goldfish, small bags of chips, and all varieties of juice boxes.
Another item that would make a good addition to the office is blankets and throws. May said that it is “so cold in the office. The kids freeze while getting treatments.” Throws in child-friendly colors are fairly cheap to pick up and can make a child receiving their chemo treatments so much more comfortable.
Jax and his family have a goal of being able to get enough donations to “supply the office with two to three months’ worth of stuff [to have on hand to give to children coming in for treatments] so the nurses don’t have to buy it out of their pockets.” That is “exactly what they do,” said May. They spend a portion of their own paychecks to make sure that there are always enough items on hand for every child. May says that “it is time for us to give back and we would love [everyone’s] help to make this a BIG deal.”
Jax is going to have at least three more years of treatment for his chemo. While other children with the same type of leukemia usually complete their chemo within two years, Jax has a rare mutation in his blood that makes treatment longer and more difficult for him. For right now, he does not have to have a bone-marrow transplant but there is another biopsy planned to recheck in the near future. He is currently taking inpatient chemo treatments for the next three months after having 21 days off to get over his battle with COVID. He had a sore throat and a croupy cough for a few days and then he was okay but his chemo still had to temporarily take a back seat. He spends four to five days in the hospital and then he is out for fourteen days. Then he goes back in and starts all over again but he should reach outpatient status by the end of September when he plans to gather up all of the donations he has received and deliver them to his doctor’s office.
Donations can be made by contacting the Facebook page, Jax’s Journey. Hollie stated that she will arrange for pick up for donated items. Monetary donations can be made through Venmo at jaxsjourney. All donated items do have to be new and the children are allowed to take their toys and blankets home with them.