Sophomore fights cancer with support of community

#littlestrong brings Prosper together
Filled with signatures, a banner is displayed in Jaxson Littles hospital room. The banner includes the hashtag #littlestrong which became used by members around Prosper to show their support for Jaxson through social media. Jaxson is number five on Prospers junior varsity basketball team.
Filled with signatures, a banner is displayed in Jaxson Little’s hospital room. The banner includes the hashtag #littlestrong which became used by members around Prosper to show their support for Jaxson through social media. Jaxson is number five on Prosper’s junior varsity basketball team.
Coleman Meier

As December came to a close, sophomore Jaxson Little was preparing for winter break and the upcoming basketball season. Little did he know, a Leukemia diagnosis was about to change his life forever.

“I had a tournament the week before for basketball, but I was really tired,” Jaxson said. “I woke up Monday and I was sick. Tuesday and Wednesday I left school early, and then Thursday and Friday I had trouble breathing.”

Jaxson’s mom, Valerie Little, said she experienced a lot of anger and frustration, yet she has stood by his side throughout the entirety of Jaxson’s treatment to fight the cancer.

“It is life changing. Watching your oldest child go through the realization that his life will no longer be the same, especially these next two precious years, is difficult,” Valerie said. “Having to watch them get sick and not be able to do anything except make them comfortable is difficult. However, we are getting to spend some quality time together as a family. Many friendships have grown deeper through this journey as we have had to lean on our community, and it has been inspiring to watch Jaxson handle this and lean on his faith when he gets frustrated with his reality.”

The Prosper community took action just 72 hours after Jaxson’s diagnosis with a prayer vigil held Dec. 18. Friends, family, teammates and coaches quickly gathered to support Jaxson and his family.

“Our community has done a really good job of stepping up and trying to assist them, but I always feel like there’s so much more that we could be doing to assist them with recovery,” Prosper basketball coach Scott Imes said. “The good thing about Jaxson is he’s got an incredible spirit about going through this. He’s very positive about what he’s going through, which is hard for a lot of people to understand, but he’s always got a smile on his face.”

I think a lot of times in life you end up feeling sorry for yourself about things that you can’t control, and Jaxson’s spirit and the way he’s gone about this has taught me that there are things in life I worry about that I can’t control that don’t matter. 

— Scott Imes

Social media being used to spread acts of encouragement and aid through the hashtag, #littlestrong. A flood of comfort and support for Jaxson come from across the Dallas area.

“A lot of my grandma’s church friends, they’ve tried to write little sweet notes, and that’s fun,” Jaxson said. “Then, I got a poster from McKinney schools.”

From lighting up Children’s Health Stadium orange in support of Jaxson to the ‘orange out’ basketball game Jan. 2, Prosper athletics have showed steadfast support for their teammate.

“It is overwhelming how our community has stepped up and wrapped its arms around our entire family. From the vigil with hundreds of supporters, to the unbelievable amount of financial generosity they have shown, to the meal trains, we are completely speechless and thankful,” Valerie said. “These surprises have taken several burdens off of our family during this journey.”

A spirit day at Chick-Fil-A was held Jan. 2 to gather donations for the Little family, and 11 days later, a ‘Welcome Home’ parade was held Jan. 13 as Jaxson returned from the hospital.

“The number of emails that I’ve received, it’s amazing. Absolutely amazing, you know, you always think it’ll never happen to you or people that you know,” Imes said. “I think I’ve always had a pretty good appreciation for health and taking care of yourself and the right things for kids to help them not only be the best person they can be, is how they’re getting the best version of themselves every day.”

Facing such a life-changing challenge has not been an easy journey for Jaxson and his family, but with the town of Prosper helping wherever they can, the community has impacted their lives forever.

“He is such a strong young man and watching him handle this with strength, dignity and grace is inspiring,” Valerie said. “Our community has made it easier to focus on him and his health, as they have taken many worries and burdens off of our shoulders. We are faithful and know that God has a plan, and we are trusting in Him through this journey.”

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Isabel Multer
Isabel Multer, Sports Editor
Isabel Multer is a junior at Prosper High School and is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is Isabel's second year on Eagle Nation Online, she is part of Eagle Nation News, and she is also on the Prosper lacrosse team. Outside of school, she loves hanging out with friends and family. She hopes to be able to share her writing through ENO.   2023 Best in Texas News & Broadcast Honorable Mention Sports Feature Story Honorable Mention Sports Column
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