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Jaxson's Story

A year after his burn injury, Jaxson and his family are gearing up for the Boston Haunted Walk.

Labor Day 2021 should have been a day of fun and happiness for Jaxson’s family as they celebrated his older brother’s birthday and graduation at their home in Connecticut. After a cookout with friends, family and neighbors, the kids wanted to enjoy s’mores around the fire pit. A dangerous accelerant was mistakenly used on the fire, causing an explosion. Although 5-year-old Jaxson was more than 5 feet away, he was badly burned and was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Jaxson had second- and third-degree burns over 29% of his body and would need to be transferred to Shriners Children’s Boston. Jaxson’s parents Joyce and Keith didn’t arrive in Boston until the early hours of the morning, exhausted and scared. “There was so much we just didn’t know about Jaxson’s condition,” said Joyce. “We were in shock, but from the very first moment we got to Shriners we felt so loved and supported.”

The first week was filled with uncertainty as Jaxson’s care team worked to fully assess the severity of his burn injury and determine his course of treatment. “It was all such a blur as we tried to wrap our heads around what was happening,” said Joyce. “Every single person we interacted with was amazing. To this day, we call the team at Shriners our angels.”

During their month-long stay at Shriners Children’s Boston, the family experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. Jaxson needed skin grafts on his face and both arms. His ability to talk was limited at first, and he required physical therapy to start walking on his own again. Slowly Jaxson started to interact more during visits with child life specialist Brooke and music therapist Kim, lighting up when he saw them. When Brooke learned that Jaxson’s family loves the fall season and his favorite holiday is Halloween, she made every effort to incorporate those themes into their activities.

Jaxson’s care team was there to support Joyce and Keith, too. They created strong bonds with social worker Melissa, nurse Rich, nurse Christie, nurse Sam R. and nurse Sam J., participating in Jaxson’s care however they could and celebrating his daily improvement together. “If it wasn’t for Shriners and all of the wonderful people there, I just don’t know how we would have made it,” said Joyce. “We bonded over so many things. The outpouring of love during such a tragic time was what got us through.”

If it wasn’t for Shriners and all of the wonderful people there, I just don’t know how we would have made it. We bonded over so many things. The outpouring of love during such a tragic time was what got us through.
Joyce, Jaxson's mother

When Jaxson returned home, there were more challenges to overcome. The transition back to school was difficult for him. His Shriners Children’s care team continued to offer support by partnering with Jaxson’s school to make a presentation to his peers. Child life specialist Brooke and physical therapist Hilary talked about Jaxson’s accident, the importance of fire safety and why he might look a little different than before. Their visit helped Jaxson and his family navigate this emotional period of his recovery.

Now one year later, Jaxson is back at Shriners Children’s Boston for plastic and reconstructive surgery with Chief of Plastic Surgery Branko Bojovic, M.D. He is an active first-grader who loves superheroes, video games and all things related to Halloween. He can’t wait to pick out his costume each year and see all the latest animatronics and spooky effects at the Spirit Halloween stores near his home.

When Jaxson’s family learned about the Boston Shriners Hospital Haunted Walk, they knew it was the perfect opportunity to give back. They are looking forward to supporting Shriners Children’s, while also celebrating their love of fall and Jaxson’s favorite holiday. “We’re so glad that we can do this walk for Shriners and have friends come with us,” said Joyce. "We are so excited to share Jaxson’s story and let other families experiencing something similar know that as hard as it seems, Shriners is going to get them through it, in the most positive way possible.”

There is still time to join the Boston Haunted Walk, taking place on Sunday, October 23 at the Garden at Elm Bank in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Visit the event page for more information.

Meet Jaxson

Jaxson is an active first-grader who loves superheroes, video games and all things related to Halloween.

Jaxson with Brooke

The child life staff made every effort to incorporate Jaxson's favorite things into their shared activities.

Jaxson with care team

Jaxson and his parents Joyce and Keith formed special bonds with his care team.

Jaxson

Jaxson shows his love for superheroes with an Iron Man hat.

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