04/13/08 — Firefighters to hold benefit for 3-year-old

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Firefighters to hold benefit for 3-year-old

By staff
Published in News on April 13, 2008 2:00 AM

From staff reports

Thoroughfare Fire Depart-ment Assistant Chief Brandon Jones read a story about a 3-year-old son of an Asheville firefighter suffering from a rare form of leukemia and knew he had to do something.

So he decided to rely on an old fire department standby -- filling the boot to help the family pay their medical bills, which were not being covered under Asheville's self-insurance policy.

The problem was that the boy, Paxten Mitchell, was suffering from a rare hypodiploid type of acute lymphoblastic leukemia -- treateable only through an unusual and expensive combination of chemotherapy drugs.

"There's a strong bond between firefighters no matter what city or state," Jones said. "I couldn't sleep that night trying to think of something to help that firefighter and his son."

Unfortunately, the treatments didn't work and, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times, Paxten's parents, Robert and Amy Mitchell had little choice but to bring him home from the hospital in late March, where he died last week.

But because of the massive medical bills the family has incurred, Jones is still hoping to raise funds to lend them a hand.

The official "Fill the Boot" campaign will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 3, with county firefighters at all the Wal-Marts in Goldsboro, Mount Olive and Rosewood, at Lowe's in Goldsboro, at the Berkeley Mall in Goldsboro, in the parking lot of the Sears auto center in Goldsboro, at Busco Beach and at a still-to-be-determined location in the Pikeville/Fremont area.

Until then, boots will be available at White's Tire Service, Jersey Mike's, Barnes Jewelers, Cameron's Clubhouse and Chevrolet Cadillac of Goldsboro, all in Goldsboro.

People can also bring donations directly to Jones at White's Tire Service.

Checks can be made out to the Paxten Mitchell Fund.

"This is just for the family," Jones said. "And a little bit is more than nothing, so we're just trying to raise as much as we can."