By Chris Bavender
A 2-mile “Jog for Jax” fundraising event is scheduled for 2 to 3 p.m. March 6. The event, held for the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, benefits 2-year-old Jackson “Jax” Sutton, who needs a kidney transplant.
“This jog brings together the community who has been rallying around this family, even while social distancing and keeping everyone safe during the pandemic,” said event chair Celeste Stanley, who is also Jax’s aunt. “It also is a great month to bring awareness to kidney health since March is National Kidney Month.”
Jax was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure. He is being evaluated for a kidney transplant that would take place at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio. Funds are being raised for COTA, which is based in Bloomington, in honor of Jax to assist with transplant-related expenses.
“Before Jax was born, at 20 weeks of pregnancy, Matt and Katie (Jax’s parents) were told Jax’s bladder, kidneys and ureters were all enlarged because of a urinary tract obstruction. They traveled to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for tests while Jackson was still in utero since Cincy has some of the best specialists in the region for this type of medical condition,” Stanley said. “The condition is officially known as a lower urinary tract obstruction. Now that Matt and Katie have learned more about it, there are other parents dealing with children with LUTO.
“When Jackson was born, it was confirmed that he had end-stage renal disease. Technically, it’s not failure because he’s on nightly dialysis, but dialysis is not an optimal long-term solution.”
Stanley said hosting “Jog for Jax” seemed the perfect way to celebrate an important milestone – Jax’s second birthday.
“It’s a celebration of milestones met and milestones to come,” she said. “Two miles to commemorate two years of joy with Jax, and cheers to many more after he and his kidney donor successfully recover. That’s our prayer.”
Jax’s parents will undergo tests along with Jax later this month in Cincinnati in hopes one of them are a match as a living donor.
“Many friends and family have also stepped up to offer to be tested in case a parent isn’t a match,” Stanley said. “Ideally, Jackson and the living donor would undergo surgery in the next few months as soon as the right match is identified.”
Volunteers have a fundraising goal of $60,000 to assist with transplant-related expenses throughout his lifetime.
“Once he’s released to go home, he’ll stay on anti-rejection medications, possibly up to 15 different medications, which I’m told medication co-pays can be quite exorbitant,” Stanley said. “Insurance and Medicaid do cover a lot, but co-pays, plus out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages from taking time off of work to either have surgery as a living donor, or care for someone else serving as the living donor, can all add up.”
“Jog for Jax” will begin at the Lake Forest neighborhood playground at the corner of Rockcress and Sundew near the entrance at 161st Street and Hazel Dell Parkway. Joggers and walkers will follow a 1-mile course for two laps. The course includes the sidewalk along Hazel Dell Parkway and the paved jogging path through the woods in the neighborhood.
Participants can also jog on their own.
“Simply click the blue button on the COTA for Jax Jog for Jax event page that says, ‘Click to Donate for Registration,’ then complete your online registration form letting us know you’ll be participating virtually,” Stanley said. “Share your pictures with Jax’s Journey on Facebook. We plan to livestream portions of the event via Facebook Live.”
To register, visit cota.org/campaigns/COTAforJax/events/JOG-FOR-JAX-a-COTA-Fundraiser.