By Ariella Plachta, Correspondent
Three-time cancer survivor Jaxon Blumenthal and his household weren’t anticipating particular remedy on a current Saturday night time once they walked into Applebee’s of Chatsworth.
However the Blumenthals shortly realized that a huge, shiny yellow desk flanked by yellow balloons and a poster of Jaxon’s face was adorned simply for them.
“We looked at each other like ‘Oh no, please don’t make us sit there,’” stated Jaxon’s mom Chrissy Blumenthal at her Brentwood house. “We were a little embarrassed by the attention, but it was so sweet. They really went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and special.”
The Applebee’s on Winnetka Avenue acknowledged 16-year-old Jaxon as a “local hero” and handled his household to as a lot basic American fare they might abdomen, half of the chain’s month-long fundraising marketing campaign with pediatric cancer basis Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
Jaxon was stunned to get the invitation and is reticent to name himself a “hero.” But most who hear this teen’s story would contemplate his battle towards childhood cancer distinctive. What’s extra, the group he and his pals based provides Applebee’s a run for their very own cash raised for the trigger.
At age 11, Jaxon was recognized with a uncommon case of stage four hepatoblastoma when docs found a 15 cm tumor in his liver. He instantly started months of grueling chemotherapy and utilized for a life-saving liver transplant, which he acquired in 2014.
Since then, the cancer returned twice and Jaxon has undergone a number of surgical procedures. After his first relapse, Jaxon’s physician gave him a 40 % probability of survival. Wanting for options, Chrissy turned to holistic healers, hashish and natural dietary supplements.
Jaxon Blumenthal, native hero, in entrance of a wall of donations at Applebee’s of Chatsworth. (Courtesy)
She says the physician was shocked to report that Jaxon’s blood checks revealed “perfect health” earlier than any further chemotherapy. After a current bout again on the hospital, he’s now in remission and dealing via long-term uncomfortable side effects whereas on the brink of apply for school.
Researchers say greater than 100 varieties of pediatric cancer require extra funding to develop new modes of remedy.
Though youngster cancer is uncommon, it stays the main trigger of dying previous infancy amongst youngsters in the USA and receives simply four % of the annual federal analysis price range from the Nationwide Cancer Institute.
In this yr’s marketing campaign, Applebee’s in Southern and central California raised $275,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand in help of households and pediatric cancer analysis. To donate, restaurant patrons buy paper lemons and glasses of lemonade or make on-line contributions. The corporate has raised $eight.2 million for the group since 2005.
Applebee’s of Chatsworth supervisor Joseph Abraham says he jumped on the alternative to host Jaxon when he discovered about his story. The chain has two different Los Angeles-area branches in Bell Gardens and Alhambra.
“We pride ourselves in being a center of the community. Recognizing Jaxon’s strength and determination to get through tough times is a great opportunity to do that,” he stated lately.
Abraham prompt doing native good like internet hosting faculty arts program fundraisers and cooking LAPD pasta dinners as a method Applebee’s units itself aside. The informal eating chain has struggled financially over the previous decade.
“I have worked 43 years in the restaurant industry, and this is the only company I’ve seen get so heavily involved. It helps our business, no doubt, when people feel we’re part of the neighborhood. The public gives to us and we do our best to give back,” Abraham stated.
Jaxon, petting his white labrador sprawled on the sofa, stated he’s grateful for the popularity.
“It’s nice to feel noticed and appreciated. But even if no one knew what I was doing, I’d continue to do it and try to make the experience for someone else a little easier.”
Quickly after his analysis, Jaxon resolved to make the most of the expertise round him at Crossroads Faculty for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica to additionally increase cash for youngsters dealing with the challenges of cancer. He’s now in 11th grade and focuses on music there.
“When I was first diagnosed all I cared about was getting through treatment and never thinking about this again,” he stated. “But then I realized that until we find a cure, more kids are going to go through the same thing. So me and my friends came up with the idea to do a benefit concert.”
Chatsworth Applebee’s honors native hero Jaxon Blumenthal. Pictured (R-L): Chrissy Blumenthal, Jaxon’s mother, Calli Blumenthal, Jaxon’s sister, Jason Blumenthal, Jaxon’s Dad, Justin Conant, Nicholas Ertel, Marlene Anguiano, Briana Notoro and Sabrina Anguiano, Applebee’s, Joseph Abraham, Common Supervisor, Applebee’s of Chatsworth, Albert Salazar, Applebee’s, Jaxon Blumenthal, native Hero, Cody Demory, Jaxon’s brother, and Brittany Balyn, Jaxon’s sister-in-law. (Courtesy)
Since founding Chords for a Remedy in 2014, the annual occasion has raised $300,000 for pediatric cancer analysis. It showcases college students’ unique music and has had celebrities reminiscent of Chris Martin from Coldplay and Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters take part. This yr’s live performance is slated to be held at The Broad.
Music, Jaxon says, served as a distraction and made his most troublesome occasions extra bearable. He writes unique music and performs in a band that carried out his ballad referred to as “Middle of the Night” on the Rose Bowl to open for Coldplay in 2016.
However maybe his most playful tune was composed on a hospital mattress, impressed by an information sheet outlining dangers of a blood transfusion.
“They want to give me a bag of blood, oh yeah” he sang on the keyboard. “Hepatitis, HIV are just some of the things this bag of blood could give to me.” Chrissy smiled on the reminiscence. “That one was a real hit with the nurses.”