Julie Locke from Washington Illinois, was thrilled to be expecting, became the proud mother of a healthy baby boy, Dax Ryan Locke, born on June 26, 2007. At six months old, Dax began getting colds and ear infections constantly. Julie was diligent in her struggle to help Dax regain his health took him repeatedly to the pediatrician who assured her it was a virus and he would be fine. On Dax's first birthday, with two ear infections and both eyes infected, he was admitted to the hospital. The doctors thought he was just dehydrated from the sickness and would perk up after getting some fluids. Three hospitals later she landed in Memphis, Tennessee at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital with her baby who was now diagnosed with AML M7 leukemia. Although shocked, grief stricken, and exhausted from the emotional toll the last six months had taken, adrenaline kicked in and Julie from that second began the battle to do all she could for her baby son, Dax.
AML M7 leukemia is common in men over 65; Dax was only 15 months old when he was diagnosed. Dax began rounds of chemotherapy but it was not working; his body was so full of cancer by the time he was diagnosed the treatments could not stop the growth of the cancer. St. Jude and the wonderful staff of doctors and nurses never gave up on Dax. After the chemotherapy treatments failed and with no other options to try, Dax was enrolled in an experimental protocol where he would undergo a stem cell transplant.
If Dax had not been taken to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital his story would have ended here. Given this new hope, Dax received his first transplant from his mother, Julie's stem cells. The cancer returned in Dax's small body even harder. Again, St. Jude offered another transplant, but unfortunately Dax's little body just couldn't beat the disease and returned home in mid-October to “Cherish Every Moment”. The doctors thought he probably would not live through Christmas. Julie will forever remember the time and effort St. Jude put into saving Dax's life and most importantly for the gift of extra time they were able to spend with her precious son.
At home and with Dax, Julie decided to celebrate one last Christmas with her son. Dax especially loved the Christmas lights on the tree and on the house and soon the neighborhood began asking why they had Christmas lights up before Halloween? As the story spread, within days the neighborhood and soon the town of Washington was lit for Dax. His story was a headline on CNN and Dax's story captured the hearts of literally thousands of people. Before they knew it, Christmas lights had actually gone up all around the world for Dax. Dax did live to see Christmas day. He passed away December 30th, 2009.
Despite her sadness, Julie knew that Dax's story, which had touched so many people, could be used to bring awareness to childhood cancer and the work of St. Jude and started a foundation called The Dax Foundation. The foundation's initial purpose is to raise $1.6 million dollars to run St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for one day in honor of Dax! Julie began chipping away at this goal by running fundraisers and spreading the word. Singer and songwriter, Matthew West reached out to help after hearing Dax's story. He wrote a song called One Last Christmas and the song went viral! Matthew donated all the money he made from the song to the Dax Foundation!
A producer heard the song, decided it would make a charming Christmas movie (One Last Christmas) telling how the neighborhood came together for Dax and put up their Christmas lights and filming began. The movie was aired December 4th, 2011 on GMC network and broke every record the network had ever set. Dax's story has moved the world. To this date over a million dollars has been raised to help Julie Locke meet her goal for her sweet boy, Dax.