MARSHALL, Texas – Eight-year-old Jax Ford of Marshall, Texas, wants to be a police officer when he grows up. But he has some barriers to overcome first.
His story has inspired police in the East Texas town, and they’re giving him some early basic training.
Jax has come a long way from a premature baby to a happy 8-year-old chasing his dreams.
He was born three months premature, weighing one pound and seven ounces.
He spent his first nine months in the hospital.
“We didn’t know if he’d even make it after the first week,” said Matt Ford, Jax’s Father. “My index finger would have crossed his entire body, that’s how small he was.”
Jax had breathing problems; without a tracheostomy, his airway would collapse. He also had a narrowing of the windpipe.
“It’s always a challenge when you have a premature child,” said Ford. “But he’s actually progressing in the way he needs to be.”
Jax has had nearly 40 surgeries. Doctors had to take part of his rib to help rebuild the trachea.
His dad hopes in two years they can finally get it removed – then Jax can do what he says he was born to do.
“I told him, if you want to be a police officer, you got to get the trach out… and that’s what he’s going for,” Ford said.
For Jax’s eighth birthday, Marshall Police gave him an experience he’ll never forget: sitting in a police car and on a motorcycle, working with detectives, writing a report and even handcuffing his dad.
“It’s fun to see the way he looks at a police car, or a light or a uniform,” said Police Chief Cliff Carruth. “When you’ve been in the business for a long time, it brings you back to when you were younger.”
Jax has been through more than any 8-year-old should ever have to go through.
“His breakfast consists of a feeding tube that he has implanted in his stomach and he has breathing treatments he has to take every morning and medicine on a daily basis because of the prematurity of his lungs,” added Ford. “But he dresses himself, gets ready and goes to school.”
He misses a lot of school because of the surgeries, and he’s catching up, but he’s gotten a hands-on head start on his dream job.
Jax is making strides every day – his next big adventure will be a visit to Baylor Medical Center’s feeding clinic, so he can switch to solid food after doctors remove his trach tube.