about the Davis family can be found on the “Battle with Jax” Facebook page, and information about the Bartz family can be found at the “Connor Crushes Cancer” page on www.gofundme.com.
Two local children, a Bristol boy with a rare genetic disease and an Abingdon teenager facing cancer for the second time, benefited when law enforcement officers in the Mountain Empire shunned their razors last month.
Five area law enforcement agencies partook in No Shave November, an annual effort to increase awareness by embracing hair, which many cancer patients lose, and donating funds through the process.
In Bristol, Virginia, 5-year-old Jaxon Davis, who has Antley-Bixler, an extremely rare genetic syndrome, benefited from Sheriff’s Office deputies and Police Department officers forgoing razors. To grow a beard or moustache, each officer had to pay to participate, according to Sheriff David Maples.
The Sheriff’s Office chose Jaxon as this year’s recipient. His father, Paul Davis, previously worked for both agencies. On Friday, the department held a party for Jaxon and presented his family with a check for $1,685.
Jaxon, 5, has had 14 surgeries since he was born, including two of three surgeries to the cranium. Antley-Bixler causes craniofacial abnormalities and other skeletal problems, his father said.
“It’s so rare that many doctors don’t know about it,” Davis said.
Jaxon, born at Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City, was diagnosed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. The doctor told the family he had only seen one other case of Antley-Bixler, and that was in Chicago.
To fight the disease, doctors treat the symptoms. He has traveled to the University of Virginia for medical care and has a physical therapist.
“We try to make it like he’s any other child,” his father said. “He wants to be a normal kid.”
The Bristol boy enjoys spending time with his siblings, and he attends Valley Institute Elementary School. He runs and plays like any other child, his father said, but he continues to have some trouble communicating.
Jaxon loves the movie “Toy Story,” which the Sheriff’s Office chose as the theme of Friday’s party. His favorite character is Woody, his father said.
“He’s as cute as a button,” said Maples, who participated in No Shave November.
The department contacted the Davis family last month about the effort.
“It was absolutely incredible,” Paul Davis said. “It was a shock.”
The Davis family is “beyond grateful” for the continuous support from city officers, he added.
“We did it to give back to the community,” Maples said. “There are so many families in need.”
Several Abingdon Police officers didn’t shave in November to raise money for Connor Bartz, an Abingdon High School student who is fighting cancer.
“We chose to participate in No Shave November at the suggestion of one of our newer officers,” Chief Tony Sullivan said. “After polling other officers, it was determined that we could benefit a charitable organization or individual by charging a bounty of $25 per officer who wanted to participate. Further, officers who shaved before the end of November would be charged an additional $25 as bail money.”
After a vote, the officers decided they would have a greater impact on the Bartz family.
“Any time a person fights cancer, there is an economic impact to the person and their family,” Sullivan said. “It was our hope that our efforts increased giving to the GoFundMe site and our additional contributions could help the family during this time. We are honored to be able to serve the Bartz family in this way.”
Connor, a senior, is undergoing experimental treatment in Cincinnati, Ohio, that includes immunotherapy every three weeks.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office also participated in No Shave November. Sheriff Fred Newman said 41 members joined the effort and donated $3,066 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Dickenson County Sheriff Scott Stanley said his office also participated.