Jasper's Journey

OREANA, Ill. (WAND) -- Jasper Swafford's valiant fight against cancer this past March, after he re-lapsed during his treatments. 

"It was super promising we went back to sleep at midnight and about two hours later they woke us up and said that his heart was failing," Jasper's dad Tommy said.

Doctors told Jasper's parents his heart had been through too much with all the different procedures he did. Tommy and Jasper's mother Tricia, made the difficult decision to take Jasper off his ventilator. 

"Like how did we get here? From six hours ago we had good high hopes, to know we're signing do not resistate papers," Tommy Swafford said.

On March 30th at 9:29 a.m., Jasper's journey on this earth came to an end.

"Jasper was a little boy that was full of life and energy and love. He loved everyone," Tommy Swafford said.

Jasper spent majority of his life in a hospital, during a pandemic. It's a life the Swafford's never could've imagined.

"I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. It makes you sad because he didn't get to do the things that normal kids get to do. He didn't walk, he didn't get to swing in his swing," Tricia Swafford said.

Shortly after Jasper passed away, his father Tommy posted on Facebook -- a promise to Jasper -- that he and his mom Tricia, would continue the Journey for him.

"Our kids are only given four percent for cancer research funding and we think they're worth more than that. So, if we have to put on events and attend events to make up that difference then that's what we're going to do," Tommy Swafford said.

 Jasper is one of 2,000 kids who will die from cancer this year. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. 

"We've followed so many kids' stories around the world who have cancer. It's just re-living all of those emotions again and it's super hard, but someone has to do it. These kids don't have a voice, Jasper couldn't talk. He didn't have a voice so we have to be his voice. We have to be these other children's voice," Tommy Swafford said.

Jasper made his love very clear for Buzz, Woody and the movie 'Toy Story'. There were several Toy Story-related items at his funeral. The movie -- a symbol for the Swafford family moving forward in a life without Jasper.

"Andy gave away his toys and he moved onto a new life and it was kind of foreshadowing what we're going through. He'll always be our little buddy," Swafford said.

The Swafford family has a fundraiser scheduled on July 10th. All of the proceeds will go to St. Judes Hospital for children battling cancer. You can learn more about the event on their Face Book page, Jasper's Journey.

You can watch the full story on WAND's Facebook page

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