SALT LAKE CITY — The family of an inspiring boy who died after a three-year fight with a rare chromosomal disease is remembering their son, Paxton Norton, as a miracle child.
Paxton was born with a deletion of the seventh chromosome, which consequently affected every cell in his body and organs. Shortly after Paxton's birth, his parents said they felt like he was sent to them with a great purpose. They now think they know what that purpose was.
"He's so happy and free now, and we know that he's still watching over us and helping us feel his love," said Shannon Norton, Paxton's mother. "I just can't believe how blessed and grateful I feel that we got to have that join our our lives for three years every day."
When Paxton was born, his future was uncertain. He faced many challenges, specifically an extremely rare chromosomal defect. Undergoing more than 30 surgeries, he and his family took each one in stride.
"He brought everyone together — family friends, loved ones, strangers," said Dave Norton, Paxton's father. "He was just this magnet of joy and of light and of love."
Paxton was seemingly thriving this year, but came down with a high fever July 11. On Saturday, his third birthday, Paxton was admitted to Primary Children's Medical Center with a bacterial strep infection in his lungs. His parents and doctors don't know how he contracted it.
Paxton quietly passed away Wednesday, surrounded by his family. His life, though brief, touched thousands of people.
"We will always be grateful that he was our son," Dave Norton said. "He's our precious angel. We love you Paxton."
The Nortons said they are so grateful for the outpouring of love and support they've received from people all over the world. They also said they're thankful for the staff at PCMC for caring for Paxton over the last three years.
Paxton's funeral will be this weekend. The family is asking in lieu of flowers to make donations to PCMC.