Jaxon Bailey, third from left, spends some time with the University of Alabama’s mascot, Big Al, at Chilton Medical Center on May 11. Pictured with Jaxon are his mother, Robin; sister, Kenzie; and father, Dale Bailey.

Archived Story

Boy meets Big Al, a dream come true

Published 2:49pm Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thirty minutes with a large, gray elephant sporting a crimson jersey with a capital ‘A’ was a dream come true for Jaxon Bailey.

The University of Alabama’s mascot, otherwise known as “Big Al,” surprised 5-year-old Jaxon of Alabaster with a visit at Chilton Medical Center on Friday, May 11.

Last summer, Jaxon was diagnosed with a condition called Moyamoya, a progressive cerebrovascular disease that causes the arteries in the brain to narrow and eventually close. This can cause hemorrhage, stroke or even death.

“He had a small stroke in June, so we still deal with behavioral issues,” Robin Bailey, Jaxon’s mother, said. “But he’s making great strides.”

Although there is no cure for Moyamoya, surgery can lessen the chance of a massive stroke by as much as 97 percent.

In August 2011, Jaxon underwent brain surgery in Boston to open a new blood supply to the front of his brain.

Jaxon and his family will fly back to Boston in August for his first angiogram, which will indicate how successful his surgery was.

After that, he will resume kindergarten at Meadowview Elementary in Alabaster.

“My hopes and aspirations are that Moyamoya will not hold him back from anything,” Bailey said. “In his mind, he’s definitely going to be Alabama’s quarterback someday.”

Since Bailey works at CMC, Robin Yeargan, CMC’s nursing director, knew about Jaxon’s condition and decided she wanted to do something special for him.

“This was the highlight of the day at CMC,” Yeargan said of his visit with Big Al, “stirring much emotion among the employees as they watched Jaxon’s dream of meeting Big Al come true.”

Another milestone for Jaxon and his family will be the “Rally for a Cause,” a community-wide fundraiser to support him in his fight against Moyamoya and to bring awareness to the rare disease.

“I feel like it helps other people get the help and awareness that they need,” Bailey said. “Until we got the diagnosis, we had never heard of it. I could never have done it alone.”

The fundraiser, also called “Jammin’ for Jaxon,” will be held Sunday, June 24 from 1–8 p.m. at the Heart of Dixie Harley Davidson dealership in Pelham.

It will include entertainment for all ages, live music, face painting and a balloon artist.

Admission is a $10 donation for adults and free for kids 12 and under.

Additionally, the Sons of Armageddon Motorcycle Club will sponsor a 100-mile ride called “Ridin’ and Jammin’ for Jaxon” the same day.

Tickets are $20 for the first rider and $10 for the second rider. For more information or to register, email rj4jaxon@gmail.com.

To learn more on Moyamoya, visit www.ninds.nih.gov.

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