In some ways Jax is a regular Fourth grader. He spends his days playing basketball or baseball, helping on his grandfather’s farm, and doing his homework. But Jax is far from being an ordinary 11 year-old boy. Jax has raised over $12,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the last year. For his extraordinary efforts a local ESA chapter Alpha Nu of Arapaho, OK honored Jax with an outstanding youth award after meeting his through his contributions to a Bike a thon the chapter holds annually.
“Jax has been our top fundraiser for a few years, but this year, he blew the doors off,” shares event co-chair Jan Lacy of Alpha Nu. “In our 23 years with this event, we’ve raised around $40,000 total for St. Jude. But this year, Jax had already raised $10,000 himself! Our small community is really engaged in his efforts, and people out-of-state even donate to him now because his mother shares his story on Facebook.”
It all started with his school ESA sponsored Math a thon. Most students raise funds for two weeks, but Jax decided that wasn’t enough. He reasoned, “Kids don’t just have cancer for two weeks, we should do this all the time.”
Jax created his “Every Penny Counts” coin drive and placed collection jars in town businesses as well as collects door-to-door, but that’s just the beginning of his efforts.
“He even hit up the staff at the doctor’s office when he had strep throat. We left with $30 in change and a prescription for antibiotics,” chuckles his mother Jara Parker. He sold bags of candy at Halloween and created a “Cancer Christmas Tree” for the town park, making an ornament for anyone who donated.
“Every holiday sparks a new idea. He saw ‘World Cancer Day’ in February on a wall calendar and created a raffle event, the donated prizes started piling up on our front porch. I’d come home to find stuffed animals, purses, even 4 sacks of cattle feed. It was crazy… and great!” said Jara.
The community in Arapaho, OK and even surrounding towns have really rallied around Jax to help him raise money for St. Jude. In addition to his other fundraising campaigns he collects aluminum cans for recycling and puts the change toward the cause.
“We have people drive 40 miles to bring Jax bags of cans, his project has just become so well-known. A local motorcycle club saw an article about Jax and his cans and donated a can crusher to help him,” explains Jara. The club has vowed to continue to replace the can crusher for life.
All of this fundraising takes a significant amount work for Jax. He spends at least two hours each night counting and rolling coins he has collected, crushing cans, making posters and contacts for his campaigns. He even wrote a song about helping find cure for sick kids. His teacher noticed a big leap in his confidence this year, and he’s even improved his already great math skills, but he remains as humble as ever.
Jara shares, “Jax is just not as amazed by all of this as we adults are. He simply enjoys thinking it all up and telling people about St. Jude…This ESA school project has had such an impact on his life and his love of helping, his heart is just so big.”
Jax has become a local Arapaho celebrity through his efforts to help end childhood cancer, proving that all it takes to make a difference is passion and determination.
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