Braxton’s first JoyJar arrived a little after he had been diagnosed with LCH (Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis) and he began taking treatments for the cancer at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 2016. Since then, he has looked forward to the arrival of JoyJars from the Jessie Rees Foundation, which are sent four times a year plus a special custom jar for his birthday!
Now, eight-years old and in the third grade, Braxton still has his Brave Beanie that he received in his first jar and displays it proudly! Braxton became known at Children’s Hospital, locally and throughout the area for his own bravery and compassion for other young patients. Just like Jessie, while undergoing his own regime of painful treatments, he would reach out to other youngsters by encouraging them to be brave. In time the slogan “Be Brave For Braxton” became his own mantra for enduring and surviving.
He enjoys receiving his JoyJar packages so much, that he decided he wanted to do something for the Jessie Rees Foundation to help other kids fighting cancer too. He talked with his mother, Amanda Gross, then with his maternal grandmother LaVonna Herzog, who crochets easily and quickly. LaVonna agreed without hesitation to make the beanies to be sent to the foundation to go in the JoyJars!
She said she crochets about one beanie a day; carrying her yarn and crochet hook with her she works in her spare time, while waiting in a checkout line, at a long stoplight, sitting in a doctor’s office, or even while visiting with a friend. “You can crochet just about anywhere and get a few rows done in a short time,” she said.
In one-year, she has knitted 375 beanies; enough to fill six large boxes that have now been shipped to us! Eventually the large assortment of colorful and varied patterned beanies will be distributed in JoyJars to children throughout the world to encourage them to NEVER EVER GIVE UP!
“I just wanted to share the fun of receiving the boxes with others who have cancer,” said Braxton, who we are proud to announce has had good, cancer-free checkups at his last several appointments! “It’s fun to see what’s inside and to know that someone is thinking about you and wants you to get well.” Braxton’s next appointment is in February of 2019. He and his family are hopeful for another good checkup. In the meantime, Braxton keeps a positive attitude and his Grandmother keeps crocheting beanies for Courageous Kids fighting cancer.