‘Full of energy and fight’: Oxford community remembers 9-year-old AJ Congdon

OXFORD, Mass. – Friends and family are mourning the loss of AJ Congdon, an Oxford boy who taught everyone what it means to stay strong in the face of a life-changing diagnosis.

What You Need To Know

  • AJ Congdon passed away Sunday night after an eight-month battle with an inoperable cancerous brain tumor
  • The 9-year-old inspired hundreds of people in Oxford and surrounding communities to support his fight
  • Earlier this year, the Oxford Police Department named him an honorary officer as part of a Make-a-Wish gift
  • Congdon was admired for his bravery during his battle, and youth sports leagues took to social media to offer thoughts and prayers for his family

The 9-year-old passed away Sunday night after an eight-month battle with an inoperable cancerous brain tumor, and his bravery has left a lasting impact on the entire community.

While AJ’s life was different after his diagnosis, his friends at the Oxford Police Department, where he was made an honorary officer, said he never lost his spirit.

“He’s an example of how to move forward and push forward every day, no matter what the battle is,” said Chief Michael Daniels. “Everyone is battling something different, but his courage and strength should be an example to anyone going through anything like this.”

Sergeant Jason Burdett worked with the Make-a-Wish foundation for AJ’s honorary officer ceremony, which also acted as a sendoff for his family’s trip to Disney World in January.

Ahead of the occasion, he had reached out to AJ’s mother Jamie to make sure he would be OK with getting so much attention in front of a large crowd of well wishers.

“Jamie was like, ‘Nope, when you meet AJ, he’s the life of the party.’” Burdett said.

Jamie echoed similar thoughts in an interview with Spectrum News 1 in January, calling her son a “trooper” who “always has a smile on his face.”

Burdett saw that side of AJ as well when he visited the police department in January, and again in February, for his first shift as an honorary officer.

“He came through the door with his parents, and he was just full of energy and fight,” Burdett said. “It was an awesome experience to be around.”

Throughout AJ’s fight, his story touched the hearts of many, from fellow students who decided to have ‘AJ Strong’ incorporated into the design of their mini-boat project, to neighboring police departments offering their assistance getting him to his first Communion.

“We actually helped him get to that first Communion through multiple communities,” Daniels said. “We pitched in with our cruisers to help them get there, and to support him and his family… It brings the communities together.”

For Burdett, a lasting memory will be a scene that unfolded on April 27, when hundreds of people showed up to wish AJ well as he was brought to a benefit at Shepherd Hill High School.

“People playing music, clapping when we rolled up with AJ and his family,” Burdett said. “All the people from these separate communities through football, through friends or families, communities like Oxford, Dudley, Charlton and Webster… It just felt like a family atmosphere with people who are complete strangers.”

Youth sports leagues from across the region offered thoughts, prayers and condolences to the Congdon family on social media, some holding a moment of silence before their games in his memory.

Throughout AJ’s battle, more than 1,000 individual donations poured into his family’s fundraising page, raising more than $80,000.

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