Scholarship memorializes late Basha High student - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Scholarship memorializes late Basha High student

May 12th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Scholarship memorializes late Basha High student

By Ken Sain
Staff Writer

If you give any American teen one wish, you got to think they would be pretty selfish with it. And, if that teen was facing a life-threatening illness, most people would say they have every right to be.

But Basha High School’s Jaxon Landfair was not a typical teen.

The students at Basha High spent a week in April trying to keep his one wish alive to celebrate his memory. Jaxon died from leukemia complications in September 2019. He had been diagnosed less than a year before that.

When Make A Wish showed up to offer him his one wish, Jaxon’s father said his son still thought he would overcome his struggle with cancer.

“We never, ever considered that he may not make it through it,” Jay Landfair said.

“They told us, ‘you know, leukemia, it’s not a death sentence anymore,’” said Jessica Landfair, his mother.

Jaxon thought about his one wish for a while.

“He thought about it for, I mean, pretty much his entire journey with leukemia,” Jay said. “He had that in the back of his mind, because Make A Wish approached him pretty early. And the whole time he was like, ‘Man, I just can’t think … and it just didn’t seem good enough.’”

Finally, Jaxon settled on his wish. He told his dad he wanted something that would last. He asked Make A Wish to start a scholarship that would help students interested in law enforcement to get their college degrees.

Jay and his wife, Jessica, started the Jaxon Foundation to do just that. And each year the students at Basha set out to raise $6,000 to fund that scholarship. Volunteer students dress up in purple shirts and classrooms compete against one another to see which can raise the most money.

The foundation also hosts an annual golf tournament, scheduled for this weekend, to help raise funds. So far it has awarded three scholarships.

Why law enforcement?

“That was kind of a surprise to me, actually,” Jay said. “You know, I remember talking to him, and he was in like middle school or something like that. You know, about what he wanted to do with life and everything. At that time talking about going into the military, Marines.”

He later found out his son and an officer at the hospital talked, and Jaxon expressed an interest in doing investigations in law enforcement.

Before Jaxon died, his father said he made a commitment to him to start the foundation that would keep his one wish alive. That means raising $6,000 every year for another scholarship.

That’s something that Basha students say they are happy to help with. This year they raised more than $7,900 for the Foundation. That was impressive considering only this year’s senior class attended school the same time that Jaxon did.

“We asked the Landfairs to make a video that kind of explained who Jaxon was,  his story and everything,” said Ava Gilbert, one of the student organizers of the fund drive. “And it was shown in every single fourth hour. So, by the time we went in there to get the donations … they already knew who he was, they knew his story. Everyone’s really touched by it.”

Students from all over the East Valley can apply for the scholarship. Jay said they work with the police youth programs to find students who are serious about pursuing a career in law enforcement.

Jaxon’s parents say in the end, they were not surprised that Jaxon would use his one wish to benefit others.

“That literally is just who Jaxon always was,” Jessica said. “He was always, even throughout his battle with leukemia, anytime anyone came into the room, he was always more concerned about their well being or if everyone was comfortable. It was innate, he is just a giver, and very good example, to all of us, including his parents.”