Five Zaxby's locations in Chattanooga will host a Shafer Daves Day May 31 to raise funds for Ooltewah parents Kevin and Jada Daves, who are struggling to keep their youngest son, Shafer, alive.
Jada Daves will be entering the surgery ward at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital June 6 where she will give Shafer one of her kidneys.
"They have been through so much, have been so positive and are such an inspiration," said Julie Brown, principal owner along with her husband Shannon of the five Zaxby's locations. "They are just a wonderful portrait of what selflessness and family love is. To think about the financial implications that come along with that, it's just staggering. It touched us and our business partners."
During the Shafer Daves Day, participating Zaxby's locations will donate 10 percent of all net sales earned from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. to offset medical costs for the Daves family. Participating Zaxby's are located at 7643 E. Brainerd Road, 4815 Highway 58, 2541 Battlefield Parkway, 8884 Old Lee Highway and 9347 Springfield Road.
Shafer needs a kidney transplant because he was diagnosed with Denys-Drash Syndrome at 10 days old. There are only 200 known cases of the rare genetic mutation, which causes kidney functions to decline and usually leads to end-stage renal disease before a baby turns 4 years old. Shafer's kidneys failed on his first birthday, Oct. 15, and he has been on 11 hours of dialysis each day since then, waiting for his transplant.
"Parents can be a match for a child, but very, very rarely can they be a perfect match. Shafer and I are a six antigen match," said Jada Daves, who has four other children ages 9 and under. "As a parent it's usually three or four antigens. It's the best chance, so we are focusing on hope and feeling certain everything is going to be great."
She said doctors have said her kidney will hopefully last twice the length of a normal donor kidney.
"For an average kidney, the number is around 10 years that it would last," Daves said, "but when you have a six antigen match it could give you up to 10 more years on the kidney, so he has a chance to go 20 more years on this kidney. My 9-year-old and my 7-year-old are already saying that when Shafer needs a new kidney they want to be tested so he could use one of theirs when he needs it."
During the Shafer Daves Day, representatives from The Children's Organ Transplant Association will visit the Zaxby's locations. The Daves family is a member of COTA, which provides them with a website where personal donations can be made to the family's account for Shafer's transplant-related expenses. The Daves family is moving to Nashville for the few months it will take both Shafer and his mother to recover from surgery.
Whatever the outcome, Daves said she is grateful and humbled by the support of friends, family and businesses like Zaxby's.
"You have to find the beauty in it, find the blessings, wrap yourself in what you've been given, see the honor in the gift," she said. " Don't grieve what you don't have, but embrace what you do have. This has been a beautiful journey for us. Though I wouldn't have chosen this, I wouldn't take anything for the journey. We're going to keep pressing on and remain positive no matter what the story gives us."