Not defined by his differences

20 month old Jaxson Vandegrift is diagnosed with type 3 Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bones Disease), a severe type of dwarfism. Jaxson has received care from Rainbows ever since the first week he was born.

At home, Jaxson lives with his parents Evan and Kayla and his 3 older siblings, Lexi, Kanton, Sevin. His family is blessed with a fantastic support system at home, frequently seeing grandparents and other relatives.

Jaxson receives physical therapy with Rainbows. With one of the most severe forms of Osteogenesis Imperfecta, he also weekly attends Aqua Therapy, home health plus, and participates in the Head Start program. In addition, Jaxson and his family travel to Omaha, Nebraska to see his specialist once a year. Jaxson’s works with Rainbows' therapist, Theresa Merck.

He is a very tenacious little boy, which has served him well thus far. Jaxson makes an effort with anything I put in front of him. He may not always be happy about it, but he always tries.  He gives me the benefit of the doubt every visit. I have learned a lot from him about perseverance and about being more than the hardships life gives,” said Theresa.

A year and a half ago, Jaxson could not use his arms and close his hands. However, after great efforts from Jaxson, his family, and Theresa, he can now use both. He has improved tremendously with other motor skills as well. Jaxson impresses his family frequently by using his feet as hands and picking things up.

“Jaxson can now roll and scoot around the house. He has progressed so much; it’s unbelievable,” said his mother.

With a curious mind, Jaxson does not find it hard to learn new things and analyze what’s going on. Even with the pain his diagnosis brings on a daily basis, Jaxson will take part in any activity, whether it be peek-a-boo or singing songs. One of his favorite activities at home is watching movies. Some of his favorites are Brave and Brother Bear.

“He is the happiest baby I have ever known. He smiles and laughs all the time and loves to be a part of the world,” his mother said. “Even with him being so small, he doesn't see himself as different. He sees himself as Jaxson, which is what I love! Even with his disease, he has such a big personality. You can't help but love Jaxson when you see him and get to know him."