On May 8, 2012, John and Danna Andrews took their almost three-month-old son, Paxton, to the doctor. They believed he had a cold and perhaps an eye infection, but instead, they quickly received the devastating news that Paxton had a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer throughout his body.
Days later, after numerous painful diagnostic procedures, the doctors at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin determined that Paxton needed to undergo chemotherapy immediately. Paxton's first round of chemo began on Danna's first Mother's Day.
On June 30, 2012, tests confirmed that Paxton's condition was not improving and that the cancer had completely taken over his body. Treatments were discontinued and on July 2, 2012, Paxton passed away just 10 days before he turned five-months-old.
"The love and support this community showed for our son Paxton and the work that has been done in his name is hard to comprehend. We are so moved," says Danna.
The Andrews started a non-profit group, Team Paxton, a Milwaukee-based, volunteer, non-profit effort to fight childhood cancer in Wisconsin and beyond. This group was inspired by responses from people around the world who were touched by Paxton's story via Facebook and Twitter.
As part of this mission, Team Paxton has announced the first annual Paxton's Pablove Fest, a family-friendly music festival, that will take place on Saturday, Sept. 22 from noon to 7 p.m. on the Hart Park Rotary Performance Stage in Wauwatosa.
The festival will include performances by Maritime, Fever Marlene, Rectifier, John Hauser from The Love Monkeys, Slimrox, Majestic Mudd and DJ Paul H.
There will also be children's activities and entertainment, a silent auction, food from Maxie's Southern Comfort and Blue's Egg, and Sprecher Brewing Company beer and soda.
Tickets are available online until Friday, Sept. 21. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 13-17. Children 12 and under are free. All of the proceeds will benefit the Pablove Foundation.
"We are so eager to support The Pablove Foundation in Paxton's name and to honor his battle so work can continue fighting childhood cancer," says Danna.
The Pablove Foundation is dedicated to the fight against childhood cancer and the suffering that comes with. The Pablove Foundation's scientific advisory committee features top names in the pediatric cancer field, including doctors and researchers from Harvard, Duke, University of Michigan, USC, City of Hope and others.
"It touches my heart to see my hometown of Milwaukee rally around the fight against childhood cancer. Paxton's Pablove Fest is going to be a can't-miss event," says Jeff Castelaz, co-founder of The Pablove Foundation.
The Pablove Foundation was founded in 2008 by Castelaz, a Milwaukee native living in California, and his wife, Jo Ann Thrailkill, after their four-year-old son, Pablo, was diagnosed with bilateral Wilms Tumor, a very rare form of childhood cancer. After a valiant fight, Pablo passed away on June 27, 2009.
"We are incredibly honored that Team Paxton has chosen to support The Pablove Foundation. Through their efforts, the stories of children and families affected by childhood cancer will continue to be heard," said Jo Ann, who is the executive director and co-founder of The Pablove Foundation.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.