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Lights shine brightly at Salmon Arm home to share love generated by young boy who died

Family invites public to visit yard with sparkling woodland creatures, butterfly tree
Little Jaxon Butts shows his delight with a candy cane. Jaxon, who had a rare chromosomal abnormality that left him unable to walk or talk, died in July 2022. The family has decorated their yard with lights and woodland creatures in order to share the light and love generated by Jaxon. (Photo contributed)

The love and light that radiated from young Jaxon will continue to shine in Salmon Arm.

Jaxon, the son of Kayla and grandson to Rod and Brandi Butts, was born with a rare chromosomal abnormality. The miracle boy who spread joy to many died on July 29, 2022 in Kayla’s arms. He was four.

“Jaxon was just pure love,” Brandi told the Observer. “We always said Jaxon was the light of our life.”

This year that light will shine brightly throughout the Christmas season and beyond.

Kayla told Brandi that although Jaxon is gone, all the love inside her remains. ‘I don’t know what to do with it.’ They decided to carry it forward.

The family donated equipment Jaxon used to four different families – one two-year-old girl, for example, was able to have her first independent bath.

They also gave donations to the food bank and homeless shelter.

They sponsored a single mom and her child for Christmas, as well as two seniors.

The family also decided to shine Jaxon’s light and joy from their Salmon Arm home. It started with a little hydrangea tree in the yard, strung with white lights and red hearts for Jaxon.

“Community is so important,” said Brandi, speaking to Rebecca Taylor Goode, who contacted the Observer, helped spread their story on Facebook and put their yard on the Shuswap Twinkle Trail. “Jaxon was greatly supported by our community.”

The lights have spread in all directions. The house and yard where the three of them live have 360-degree decorations, not of the Santa Claus variety but mostly woodland creatures. They’ve put up bird feeders so birds are perching on the strings of lights. Grandpa Rod has put up a beautiful butterfly tree.

“It’s been a labour of love and Jaxon can see it from heaven. It’s our way of sharing Jaxon’s light,” Brandi said, her voice filled with emotion.

Read more: Four-year-old son’s medical needs take priority over new roof for Salmon Arm mom

Read more: Salmon Arm’s Top 20 Under 40: Kayla Butts

One of the woodland creatures in the yard is a raccoon.

“We’ve always said Jaxon was our little raccoon,” Brandi smiled. She explained he was in hospital in Vancouver from February to May – 100 days. During those 100 days, she and Kayla stayed at the hospital with him.

The two were looking at Pinterest one day and a woman said her child could best be described as a raccoon high on cocaine and running from the cops. It made them laugh so hard.

“Jaxon was full of mischief. For someone who couldn’t walk or talk, he got into a lot of mischief,” Brandi said.

Although he was non-verbal, she said he made lots of sounds to communicate, kind of like a raccoon does.

When he woke up from a surgery, he started pulling out all the tubes. He was given big Paw Patrol mittens to stop him. But the mittens could talk and would do so if moved. For example, when a nurse would walk into the room.

“And all of a sudden the paw would go, ‘Oh wow!’” laughed Brandi.

If you would like to share in the love and light being generated for Jaxon, you’re invited to drive past 1160 49th Ave. NE in lower Raven.

As Rebecca Taylor Goode said in her Facebook post: “You are sure to feel the love that reaches all the way up to heaven. What better way to celebrate the season.”
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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