• Spirit of 7-year-old Southbridge boy lives on a year after his death

    By: Bob Ward

    Updated:

    The spirit of a Southbridge boy who lost his life one year ago is still burning bright as the holiday season rolls on. 

    Jayden Carlson suffered severe brain damage in an act of domestic violence when he was just two years old, and was adopted into a new family that surrounded him with love. 

    Now, Deidre Carlson's family who adopted him is forced to celebrate their second Christmas without their son, with Friday marking one year since they lost their 7-year-old son.

    Carlson is looking to make this Christmas a special one for a lot of people, and is donating gifts she's collected in Jayden's name to Worcester's UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center.

    "We're hoping to give them a nice Christmas," Carlson said. "I think this is a perfect way to honor him."

    Carlson and her family adopted Jayden when he was two years old after he was critically injured in the domestic violence case with his biologiical family.

    Boston 25 News met Jayden in May of 2017, at a time when he suffered from seizures daily, but was surrounded by a new, loving family.

    >>PREVIOUS: Local nonprofit helps family of adopted boy with special needs

    Jayden's final days were spent at the medical center in Worcester, leading to the creation of Carlson's new charity: Jayden's Keys 4 Happiness. 

    The charity is Carlson's first appeal to make Christmas brighter for the children who will spend the holiday at the medical center, in the very unit Jayden and his family knew so well.

    "The first anniversary, we're going to focus on something more than mourning," Carlson said. "We're giving back."

    Battery-operated Christmas trees and other little items are mong the items Jayden's mom has collected, and Carlson hopes they all can make a difference.

    "We really missed our Christmas tree when we were in the hospital," Carlson said.

    There is no question that December 21 will be a difficult day for Carlson and her family, but by creating a new charity in Jayden's name, they're hoping they'll be able to keep alive the spirit of a little boy who changed their lives forever.

    "He just touched so many lives," Carlson said. "I think, through this charity we are trying to get going, he'll be able to touch many more."

    The charity is named for the little keyboard that Jayden used to communicate with the world, and anyone can donate to the cause at the family's GoFundMe page by clicking here

    Next Up: