Hip hop's got boy's back: Concert to raise awareness for genetic disease

There's a young Battle Creek boy with a serious medical condition that needs help, and a stage full of rappers are up for the challenge.

Jaxon House, 3, has lipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency. It's a genetic disease that creates a buildup of lactic acid in the body. Or, as his mom, Laura Jurgens, said, "anything you put in his body — whether it be carbs, fats, proteins, anything — will basically create toxins in your blood and can create havoc with other organs."

The disease is very rare and can be fatal.

Jurgens and House will be the beneficiaries of Project Cypher III, a rap concert organized by Ryan Evans, who performs as HighTyde.

Project Cypher III begins at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Warehouse, 1299 E. Columbia Ave. Admission is $5 and there will be food and a raffle. Evans said all of the proceeds will go to House's expenses, and the local hip-hop artists are donating their time.

Before the concert, there will be a social gathering for parents of special-needs children, and the kids themselves, featuring food and games on behalf of Evans and the Project. That happens 4 to 6 p.m. at the Warehouse.

A GoFundMe account has been set up at www.gofundme.com/doit4jaxon.

This is the third Project Cypher; last year, Evans organized an event for Carter Buffum of Jackson.

"A cypher is kind of a group rap sort of thing," Evans said. "Basically, it was my idea to do something that kind of brings artists together and forces them to do one big collaborative song."

Other artists performing include Nemoniq, J-Phrey, Kyle Pape, Foundation Committee and more.

Sitting on the porch of her Maple Grove Avenue on Mother's Day, Jurgens thought about loneliness. She wasn't alone; her other son, Dylan Pratt, 7, was inside watching TV. The two had spent the day at Binder Park Zoo on Saturday, but House was staying at University of Michigan Health System, as he sometimes has to, for care.

Jurgens was thinking about the loneliness of caring for a special needs child. While she said she'll use any money raised for House's care and quality of life, she also wants to raise awareness for genetic diseases.

"Raising awareness for children with genetic disorders is kind of what my focus is because they’re the ones that get pushed under the bus," Jurgens said. "The kids with genetic disorders are the ones who have the problems in the medical health system and funding."

Laura Jurgens talks about her son, Jaxon House, 3,
Laura Jurgens talks about her son, Jaxon House, 3, and his rare medical condition.

Jurgens described the ups and downs of dealing with insurance companies, hospitals and the state government in trying to get care for House. Even if his life is short, she wants her son to not only receive care but have things other kids might take for granted, such as toys.

Shortly after House turned 2, he had a seizure and everything changed. The once-laughing toddler is now 3 and doesn't react much to the world around him. He's got a form of blindness that's getting worse as well.

House has several seizures a day and is partially paralyzed.

"It’s very rewarding because mostly you feel like you’re alone in life when you deal with special-needs kids," Jurgens said of being connected to Project Cypher III. "It’s a very lonely responsibility."

That sense of community is something Evans wanted to provide using his own community.

"We want to provide ease of life for the family, because it’s not easy taking care of special-needs children," Evans said. "Whether they choose to use that for day-to-day operations or hospital costs, I don’t want to dictate necessarily what they do with it, but I want to bring some comfort or peace of mind to the families, to the kids."

When Evans first moved to Battle Creek from Homer, he thought he was the only one here with an interest in performing live hip hop. After some time, though, he found more and more of the community. When the first Project Cypher idea came to him, he thought his work might be hard.

"I really just wanted to bring people together, especially with hip-hop music," Evans said. "In general, it’s such an ego-centered genre of music. You don’t hear country artists dissing each other."

That said, putting this kind of event together was different.

"It’s surprisingly really easy," Evans said. "They’re bringing CDs, selling them and then donating all the money to charity, which I think is huge."

Given the nature of the cause, it could mean some people will be attending their first hip-hop show.

"It’s such an eclectic mix; it will range from teenagers to people, 40s, 50s, 60s," Evans said. "The people that come for the charity get to at least hear it and say, 'OK, maybe I had the wrong impression about this genre of music.'"

Contact Andy Fitzpatrick at 269-966-0697 or afitzpatrick@battlecreekenquirer.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @am_fitzpatrick

If you go

WHAT: Project Cypher III hip hop concert.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday. The doors open at 7 p.m.
WHERE: The Warehouse, 1299 E. Columbia Ave.
COST: $5 general admission.


INFO: There will also be food and a raffle; proceeds go to care for Jaxon House of Battle Creek. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/projectcypherpage. A GoFundMe page has been set up at www.gofundme.com/doit4jaxon.

For a track from Battle Creek rapper HighTyde, look for the latest episode of "The Jump Page," the Enquirer's podcast hosted by Andy Fitzpatrick, at www.soundcloud.com/enquirerpodcasting.

http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/hip-hops-got-boys-back-concert-raise-awareness-genetic-disease/