Every February, Unitus supports JoyRx and the kids and families to whom it brings the healing power of Joy. The delight and warmth that JoyRx inspires cannot be measured, but it can be felt. You can feel it when you support the JoyRx mission and through the Joy that you bring to kids like 11-year-old Xavier Waldow.
Xay’s been in and out of the hospital for as long as he can remember. Xay’s mom, Raelynn Waldow, is a Member Advocate II at Unitus and has been with the credit union going on three and a half years. Raelynn says that Xay was admitted to the hospital right after birth. Scans showed Xay had blood clots on his brain as a result of having a stroke while in the womb. She shares Xay’s story openly and with conviction, referring to the extraordinary impact JoyRx has had on both her and Xay since he first became involved in Joy Makers four years ago.
In the decade since Xay was born, he’s been diagnosed with a long list of illnesses, including CVIDD (Common Variable Immuno-Deficiency Disorder), Spastic Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy, Chronic Lung Disease, Medically Refractory Epilepsy, as well as Other Specified Neurodevelopmental Disorder. Even though cancer isn’t in that long list, JoyRx | Children’s Cancer Association knew they still had to come to the Waldows’ rescue. It’s been a difficult and stressful road for Xay and the Waldows, and Joy was just the prescription Xay needed.
The JoyRx Music Specialist Jean, sing songs with Xay when he’s in his hospital room. Xay’s JoyRx Mentors have brought music and boxes of games and goodies to Xay’s home and to the hospital when he’s there. They’ve gone on trips to get ice cream, to local parks, and to the movies. His current mentor, Doug, especially loves building LEGOs with him. “[JoyRx] just lets you be a kid and find your Joy,” Xay shares.
Perhaps most importantly, Xay’s mentors have given him friendship and the freedom to just be a kid and to be himself.
“He’s been to Harlem Wizards basketball games, Trail Blazers games, and soccer games. We were blessed with a week-long trip to the coast to relax and reset,” says Raelynn.
“This organization allows Xay to have moments of unexplained Joy, of being a kid and not a kid with medical issues or disabilities. They give us the opportunity to give Xay experiences that a lot of people take for granted,” explained Raelynn. “And that is what brings us Joy.”
She adds, “Xay is the ultimate Joy of my life, and to have an organization that provides Joy and is supported by people that don’t even know my kid is amazing.”
The significance of that Joy, and of giving, is exactly why Unitus supports JoyRx and activates a Joy Makers campaign in their branches, amongst their staff, and in their community every year. It’s also why Unitus gave Xay a fun experience of their own through their award-winning Dream Come True program with OSU Athletics. As part of this, they hosted Xay and his family for a home Beaver football game, he got to meet Benny the Beaver, they hung out on the field, and met some of the OSU players in person.
Unitus invites their members, and anyone interested in helping a sick child experience the healing impact of Joy, to make a donation on their Joy Makers Campaign page in honor of Xay, or to visit their local Unitus branch to purchase a paper heart.
When a child experiences Joy, they experience an immediate and measurable improvement to their mental and emotional well-being. Simply put: Joy makes sick kids feel better. And JoyRx heals. Unitus has seen it. We’ve seen it.
There is more that unites: Joy! You. Us. Unitus.