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Townsend family mourns the loss of one-year-old in ‘freak accident’

Jaxx Sellers, left, was struck by a tree Friday night while in his father Chris Sellers’ arms, center. His mother, Roxxe Perkins, is at right. (Amy Sokolow/Lowell Sun)
Jaxx Sellers, left, was struck by a tree Friday night while in his father Chris Sellers’ arms, center. His mother, Roxxe Perkins, is at right. (Amy Sokolow/Lowell Sun)

TOWNSEND — Roxxe Perkins and Chris Sellers of Townsend are mourning the loss of their 1-year-old son, Jaxx Sellers, after he was struck by a falling tree while in his father’s arms Friday night. The youngster died around 9 p.m. Saturday night, according to L’sea Baker, a friend of Perkins.

As The Sun previously reported, Jaxx was transported from his home on New Fitchburg Road by medical helicopter to Tufts Medical Center in Boston, according to a press release from the Townsend Police and Fire departments.

Chris only suffered a few scratches on his forearm during the incident.

A friend of the couple’s set up a GoFundMe page for the family on Saturday, which raised almost $20,000 in one day and has currently raised almost $25,000. The funds will go to funeral expenses and medical bills. Baker, the poster, shared Saturday that Jaxx was on a ventilator in the pediatric intensive care unit at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and that he would not survive. She said the couple want to donate Jaxx’s organs “to help other families avoid the fate of losing their own children.” Jaxx will be cremated at Anderson Funeral Home in Townsend.

Perkins has commented on her Facebook page that her son’s brain swelling and bleeding worsened following his injury, which presumably led to his death. The Sun has reached out to Perkins and Sellers for comment.

On Saturday morning, Perkins posted that she was “reading books and singing songs” to Jaxx, who was lying next to a teddy bear in photos she posted. He was wearing a head bandage and a neck brace, and appeared to be hooked up to a ventilator and heart monitor. She posted another photo holding his hand.

In her latest update Saturday night, she posted a 20-second video in which she tearfully thanked those who have sent messages and donated to her family since Friday, then flipped the camera to show her son, who appeared to be sleeping peacefully.

She ended the short video thanking everyone for “being a part of our little family.”

Townsend Police Chief James Sartell said in an interview Monday that there was a wind advisory in effect at the time, and winds were gusting at speeds up to 50 mph Friday night, though he still called the event “a freak accident.”

He added that there was nothing unusual about the family’s backyard where the accident occurred.

He said that although he’s heard of trees or branches hitting buildings and cars, he cannot recall a situation like this in his career. The only suggestion he had for avoiding a similar tragedy was to keep up with forest management on one’s property, which also helps mitigate the risk of wildfires.

He added that the town has scheduled a debriefing for first responders on the scene that night to process the trauma, grief and sense of helplessness they may feel after the event.

He said the GoFundMe campaign is a good indicator of how the town has come together in the wake of this tragedy to support Jaxx’s parents.

“Certainly a tragedy when you’re dealing with a death at all, you know, an untimely death in any circumstance — but certainly somebody so early in life, it takes on even a more tragic sense,” he said. “Life is so fragile.”

To donate to Roxxe and Chris, visit their GoFundMe page.