The Short of It
Before birth, Jaxon Buell was diagnosed with a rare birth defect that meant he was born missing part of his skull and brain. Doctors expected he would die within hours of his birth. But Jaxon beat the odds and celebrated his first birthday in August.
Parents Brandon and Brittany Buell found out about the issue with their baby's brain during an ultrasound. Despite the grim prognosis for their baby, the Tavares, Florida, couple held out hope that he'd be okay and chose to proceed with the pregnancy. Baby Jaxon was born on August 17, 2014, and after his birth, he was diagnosed with anencephaly, which means that his cerebral cortex is nearly missing, and his cerebellum didn't form properly. More recently, his official diagnosis was changed to microhydranencephaly. But Jaxon has defied all odds—not just surviving, but even meeting some major baby milestones, as he starts to talk (saying "mama" and "daddy," of course) and walk, which doctors never imagined he'd be able to accomplish.
Like all other parents, Brandon and Brittany are dealing with the dramas of new parenthood—but also with the knowledge that every day with their son may be his last. "All we ever wanted was to give Jaxon the happiest, most comfortable, and most fulfilling life possible, because we know how precious his days are with us," Brandon wrote on the "Jaxon Strong" Facebook page. They're hoping that his life can help advance medicine, as doctors study his case to learn more about the brain. "We believe the medical world will also benefit from Jaxon's story, from his rare neurological condition, and from his diagnosis, because we are certainly seeing firsthand how much there is still to learn about the human brain," Brandon wrote.
It's amazing—and heartwarming—that this little boy has been able to celebrate another baby milestone that every parent looks forward to: His first birthday. We wish him many more.