A Sarasota family says their 15 month old son may have lost his battle with cancer but they are far from giving up the fight.
"Six pounds eight ounces. Not a thing wrong." For seven months Daxton Blanford sprouted like any other newborn but then his parents David and Heather say something changed. "He started behaving a little bit different. His happy little self was getting a little cranks."
His father says Daxton's tiny tummy was swollen. A number of visits to area doctors and the emergency room before they figured it out. "They came in and asked us to sit down. You know that is never good. They told us they found a softball sized tumor in his abdomen."
Daxton was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Neuroblastoma. It strikes between 600 and 700 children in the U.S. annually. Months of tests and treatment followed says Heather. "We thought if we could get the chemo and the tumor out we could move forward. He had a really good chance."
After some remission, news came the cancer was growing again and spreading rapidly. At 15 months old little Daxton's struggle came to an end says Dad. "We held him. He took probably four breaths. He didn't struggle. He didn't fight. All he could do to say goodbye was one tear. One tear came out."
A Moms worst fear come true. "It is such a hard thing to lose a child. You cannot even put it into terms. What that feels like. What that does to you as a person. What that does to you as a family."
A little more than two years later the Blanfords and now their little daughter Breslyn are moving forward. "She is the glue that keeps my broken heart together."
They are far from forgetting in fact they are fighting. Starting their foundation called Daxton's Fish which looks to help with bills for families who have to drop everything to be by their childs side. "You have to be able to eat. You have to be able to pay your bills. We knew that first hand. That is why we started our foundation," says David.
Raising money and raising hope that a cure can be found too says Heather. "It gives more children an opportunity to continue their fight. It gives families an opportunity to keep their child. Even if it's just a little bit longer."
A struggle they know all too well but a cross they say they will continue to carry in their sons name. "Daxton's physical fight is over but we are still fighting this battle. We are still fighting for people. We are still fighting Neuroblastoma."
In October the Blanfords hope you can help in their fight. Their foundation will be holding a golf fundraiser. You can find more information at www.daxtonsfish.com