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Family raises money for boy with rare eye condition: ‘Never give up’

HOPEWELL, Va. -- The family of a boy  who raised thousands of dollars to get him an artificial eye has reached out to the CBS 6 Problem Solvers after they fell short of their goal.

At the age of two, Jaxon Gibbs was diagnosed with Coats’ disease, a rare condition where abnormal blood vessels form in the back of the eye that eventually burst and leak. At that young age, Jackson was unable to communicate to his parents that the vision in his left eye was deteriorating.

“His retina was completely detached and he was not seeing out of that eye. We never knew it,” his mother Elke Gibbs said.

Elke Gibbs and Jaxson.

Elke Gibbs and Jaxson.

Eight-year-old Jaxon is hoping to receive a new scleral shell for his shrinking blind eye, but with the shell expense amounting to $4,000, the Gibbs family is fundraising to meet their goal.

“The eye will shrink and now he needs something in his socket because his eye is smaller and he is a growing boy to help with facial development," Gibbs said.

While Coats’ Disease is not a common disease, Gibbs is trying to spread awareness and inform parents on early warning signs, and it could be as simple as looking at photographs.

“If you have one red eye and one that glows, like a yellowish, white glow and it’s consistent, like you’ve noticed it in a couple of pictures, then you probably need to be seen by an ophthalmologist,” Gibbs warned.

Jaxon Gibbs

Jaxon Gibbs

Facing adversity at a young age, it’s been difficult for Jackson to stay positive.

“He was sad, he would cry, so I reached out on Facebook to find someone with Coats’ Disease,” Gibbs said.

Luckily, Jaxon was able to relate with someone, a 15-year-old with Coats,’ in his own city of Chester.

Not only did this reassure Jaxon, but it eased his insecurities.

“I felt a lot better cause I wasn’t, I figured out that I was not alone, I was not the only one that had Coats’ Disease,” Jaxon said.

“Immediately his spirits were lifted, it was like a star-struck moment," Gibbs said.

When asked if he had any advice for people going through Coats’, Jaxon responded, “I just want people to know face your fears, don’t never give up.”

Hopewell Moose Lodge donation

Hopewell Moose Lodge donation

Touched by Jaxon’s optimism, community members have contributed to his fundraising goal. The Hopewell Moose Lodge donated $2,000 and the Colonial Heights American Legion donated $500.

You can donate to Jackson’s cause by purchasing a $10 t-shirt from Elke Gibbs at elkegibbs@gmail.com.