Category Archives: Jackson

RallyCap

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I’m always on the lookout for sporting programs that Jackson can take part in, but up until recently I haven’t been able to find all that many.

I’m the type of mother that never wants their child to feel left out or that they can’t do something.

I modify things for Jackson all the time so that he doesn’t feel left out, but with sports there really is no modification. It’s adrenaline, impact, running, and competition. All things that are not good for a boy with delicate muscles.

That recently all changed when I heard about a program called RALLY CAP SPORTS.

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It is a sports  program for children and young adults with special needs. They want to create a world where people of all abilities can share in the joy of sports.

Their mission is to create positive sports environments fostering social integration, healthy living, and greater self-confidence for children and young adults with specials needs.

Each local league has passionate volunteers of students at universities. So the mission is actually two fold;

to provide transformative sports opportunities for the under-served special needs community and bring together communities by changing attitudes and opening hearts.

Here’s a short video showing Jackson at Rally Cap! {specifically at 2:09 for those impatient folks)

“Sports are a powerful avenue for people with special needs to discover new abilities, develop confidence, and find joy in every day. They also uncover a sense of belonging and inspire communities to open their hearts to people of all abilities.”   -Rallycap

Jackson has had the opportunity to participate in two of the sessions so far.

The first one he did was Basketball.

This was his first time being part of a program/team with this sport and he was thrilled.

He was so worried at first because he didn’t know how it would go and he had many questions.

“How can I keep up?”

“What if I get tired and need a rest?”

“I’m not going to be good enough.”

I explained to him how this was a special program that is different from the rest and that it would not allow him to overexert himself.

That if he was tired, he could easily take a break and come see me for a drink.

That he was in control of what he wanted to do and that if ANYTHING was too much, that he could stop anytime.

We went and he met the girls he would be playing with and pretty quickly a big smile appeared on his face.
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They had hoops of all varying sizes and he could shoot at any which one he liked.

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The pure joy on his face from making a hoop was enough to make my momma heart soar.

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This program is seriously managed SO well and I couldn’t have been happier as a parent watching on the sidelines.

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Afterward we had to celebrate by getting some ice cream of course!

Jackson knew right where he wanted to go and this time he ordered up a big sundae!

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At basketball each week he would just light up and have such a blast.

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At the end of the session he was honored and celebrated for being such a wonderful player and given a trophy.

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As you can tell…..that MAY have been his favorite part!

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Jackson also just did the Football/Cheerleading Session and yet again it did not disappoint.

He was way more apprehensive this time about doing this sport.

He’s never played football and knew that it was an impact sport.

When he first got there he refused to take part, I think it was a combination of fear + the fact that he just woke up from a nap.

But after I got out there and played a little football and then after he giggled at me and how terrible I was he gave it a shot!

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We then found some hula hoops and that really made him giggle when we all tried to do various tricks with them.

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and then near the end I couldn’t spot him and wasn’t sure where he moved to.

and then i saw it.

He asked his girl if he could do the cheerleading portion.

and all i needed to see were these 2 pictures to know that he was definitely enjoying himself.

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PURE JOY.

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If you would like more information about the RallyCap Sports program you can visit their website HERE.

“Children and young adults with special needs should be able to participate in and enjoy sports just like everyone else!”

-Paul Hooker, Founder


Duchenne Research Project

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” A young boy name Jackson was recently  diagnosed with Duchenne and is spreading the message all over the world.

At seven years old he has changed the world with his amazing and inspiring story!”  – Sydney

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Recently I was able to work with a Perrysburg Junior High’s 7th Grade Language Arts Class to do a research project on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

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It was such a wonderful opportunity to share our story with these amazing students. They had to get onto Joy in Jackson’s Journey Website and using that, write a paper on what Duchenne is, how they felt about it, and to share it with two other people.

I went in one afternoon and spoke with the kids….and cried, of course, because I hadn’t shared the story with anyone in a little while and seeing all these young, talented, eager students….it just made me emotional.

After speaking with them, I went back in had the opportunity to listen to them present their papers.

I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing it was watching these kids rattle off statistics about how Duchenne affects approximately every 3,500 male births. About how they told their friends and family about Jackson.

It was so reminescent of a few years ago when I had never heard of Duchenne.

These kids hadn’t either and it was heartwarming watching them learn and share about the disease.

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“Duchenne is really sad and heartbreaking and I wish it never existed. You are in gym, running around. People are so much faster than you. You decide you should sit down.  You can’t. It’s too hard!! You finally sit down and then after about 5 minutes you decide to get up again. You’re having more trouble. You finally get back to gym and get very upset because you know why you can’t run as fast as others, why you have trouble sitting and standing. You have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.” – Rachel

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“Have  you  ever  heard  of  Duchenne  Muscular  Dystrophy?  It  is  also  known  as DMD  for  short.  

It  is a  severe  form  of  muscular  dystrophy  caused  by  a  genetic  defect  and  usually  only  affecting  boys.  This  rare  disease  is  mostly  common   in   boys  because  they  do  not  make  the  dystrophin  protein  in  their  muscles.

First,  only  about  1  in  every  3,500  people  have  DMD.  And  that  one  person  is  someone  named  Jackson.  Jackson  goes  to  Fort  Meigs  Elementary  school  and  is  in  first  grade.  He  was diagnosed   with  Duchenne  in  2012.  It  is  often  hard  for  Jackson  to  run  and  keep  up with  his  friends.  He  also  gets  really  sad  when  he  realizes  that  it  is  hard  for  him  to keep  up  with  his  friends.”  – Bella

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“I want to talk about this website called http://www.joyinjacksonsjourney.com/  It talks about this mother who finds out that her son has Duchenne and how she was sad and how she felt.”  – Cheyenne

“When she {Jackson’s Mom} read this she felt sick to her stomach and couldn’t sleep the whole night and was not feeling good the next morning either. That morning though when she woke up she had felt like it was all just a dream and that none of it was true but eventually had to accept the truth that her son did have Duchenne and would not be alive walking and using his legs. After she had been like this for three whole days she felt like a shell of a person”. – James

 

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“It’s the stuff that we avoid because it hurts that is exactly the stuff we need to tackle.”- Jacob 

 

 

“This has been the most shocking thing I have heard, more shocking than my dad getting cancer. A child gets this disease when they get the defective gene called dystrophin. Girls produce enough protein to fight this disease if they get a bad gene. This disease makes the child’s muscle’s change when the child grows, sadly killing the child when fully grown.

This disease DESPERATELY needs a cure, because there is nothing right now you can do to fight it. I hope that there can be a cure soon, so nobody has to go through this pain. I hope Jackson is doing well and hopefully there will be a cure very soon.” – Joshua

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” I hope that scientists help find a cure to Duchenne, If you don’t know what duchenne is then please look it up and support and help.” – Jude

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” I feel bad for parents whose kid got the disease because it’s heart breaking news to hear. Their kids will be sad to because they will want to be able to do what the others kids do but they can’t. The parents are really sad knowing that there kid can only live for a short period of time.” – Cameron

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I am SO very thankful for this opportunity to share our story with others and to help educate children on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

A few weeks later it was even featured in the local paper!

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One sweet girl even knew how much Jackson LOVED Angry Birds, so she brought him a game that she used to play and wanted him to have it. She even attached a super sweet note inside that said, “Jackson you are the bravest person in the world!

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“A side note to Jackson or anyone else with Muscular Dystrophy, never give up and always keep fighting.

 Enjoy life while you have it.”  – Kolton

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Waiting for a Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Diagnosis

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“It’s the stuff that we avoid because it hurts

that is exactly the stuff we need to tackle.”

Back on February 2012, I wrote in my journal about the hardships that I was going through and the unknown I was walking into with Jackson.

At that time I took Jackson to the hospital for an echo of his heart,

lots of bloodwork,

and some x-rays.

I got the test results back and the echo of his heart was normal as were the x-rays.

But the bloodwork came back with extremely high numbers indicating that

something big was still going on inside my little boy.

Our pediatrician got me hooked up with a pediatric neurologist and I waited a few weeks and finally went in to see him.

It was February 22nd, 2012.

I remember that day so well, and I always (unfortunately) will.

I remember playing with the boys that morning and having a grand ol’ time,

I remember I wore this cute pink top because it was my favorite color,

i remember i took this picture…….

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this picture now has significant meaning to me.

It’s been over  2 years since that day and this photo signifies

the last day I had where I felt joy.

Full, unbridled, optimistic, full of life happiness…..JOY.

Because I thought I knew hard before that day.

See, my whole life I have been a very happy, optimistic person.

I actually have a HUMONGOUS love of quotes and I’ve had books where I write my favorite quotes down ever since I was a little girl.

I’ve always been drawn to them,

I’ve always written them down and hung them all around,

they’ve gotten me through all sorts of things.

So as I look back, I think “hmmm….maybe there was a reason why I’ve always loved quotes.

Maybe I was building a library for myself for when something really terrible happened,

I would have plenty of books of mine to go back and look at and uplight myself.”

February 22nd, 2012 Jackson and I went in to see this specialist and had no idea what to expect.

But the worse thing ever was about to smack me in the stomach with the news the doctor would give me.

He took a very quick exam of Jackson and mumbled some things and calmly said,

“I think your son has either Duchenne or Becker Muscular Dystrophy”.

Just like that. As cold as stone.

Actually, I can’t even get across to you how cold he said it to me.

I had NO IDEA what that meant and as I scrambled to write those things down and asked him how to spell it.

I will never forget the sadness,

the grief,

and in that moment my stomach fell down to my knees

and I couldn’t breathe right.

He told me to get a genetic test done on Jackson and in 6 weeks I’d  know the answer.

and then he walked out.

He also said some rude comments to me, but I will not share them and will try to put them out of my memory.

I walked out, went to the car, tried desperately to hide my emotions from Jackson who was happy and had no idea what was going on.

But I failed.

I burst into tears and I just remember thinking, “I don’t understand”.

See, I hadn’t done ANY research and didn’t know a thing about what the doc was talking about.

Later that night I googled it and this is what it said:

 Duchenne muscular dystrophy is an inherited disorder that involves rapidly worsening muscle weakness.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a rapidly-worsening form of muscular dystrophy.

By age 10, the person may need braces for walking. By age 12, most patients are confined to a wheelchair.

There is no known cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy leads to quickly worsening disability.

Death usually occurs by age 25, typically from lung and heart disorders.

I read that and I just sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed.

I couldn’t catch my breath.

I was just sitting there shaking.

Then I ran to the bathroom and got terribly sick.

I shut my laptop, I was numb, I couldn’t sleep.

I went into Jackson’s room and just laid next to him, and cried.

I eventually went to my room and fell asleep, but I woke up at 3 am, got sick again, checked on Jackson, and then slept until 4am.

Right then in the haze of waking up I thought this whole thing was a dream.

I thought to myself,

“What a horrible dream”

and then I realized it wasn’t a dream.

It all hit me like a ton of bricks, like I was literally getting the crap beaten out of me.

I couldn’t go back to sleep.

I just laid there…..numb.

I took him to school and came home and I just sobbed in bed.

I decided to get out of the house so I went to Costco, but it was no luck, I wandered around like a zombie and didn’t eat all day.

I just felt so empty.

I am just so hollow inside.

I don’t know why this is happening.

Later that night the bishop from our church come over and gave Jackson and I blessings.

I really think it helped.

My heart felt calm.

Everyone just keeps trying to reassure me that the test will come back negative,

that doctors are wrong all the time,

but I know deep down that it isn’t the case.

I can feel it,

I think he truly does have this disease,

and that’s why I’m breaking down so bad right now.

I was driving to pick up Jackson from school and I was blown away by the weather.

It was a gorgeous sunny day when I got on the highway and then about 2 seconds later I hit a giant rainstorm.

I had to capture this crazy phenomenon, mostly because it felt like my life.

In the rearview mirror was the beautiful day, and up ahead this is what I was heading into.

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It was total symbolism for me in the fact that looking back things were easy, but now I was headed into the eye of the storm.

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Three days later…

Ever since I’ve gotten this news it’s been hard to eat, sleep, do anything.

I’ve felt like dying,

I’m constantly in the bathroom getting sick,

I feel hollow,

I’ve been so cold,

I barely get through the day and fall straight asleep at 10pm,

but then I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t settle my mind enough to get back to sleep.

I don’t do laundry,

I don’t clean the house,

I haven’t made a meal,

I haven’t worn makeup,

I haven’t watched tv.

I feel like a shell of a person,

i don’t smile,

my heart hurts,

i’ve cried so much.

This morning I woke to Jackson puking all over himself and his bed and his pants were soaked with poo.

Logan was delightfully in his room screaming at the top of his lungs.

5 bags of puked on bedding.

I don’t know if it was the blessing I got a few days ago or because I was FORCED into doing laundry, but today was the first day that was o.k.

I didn’t spend the majority of the day crying.

I spent the day playing with Jackson,

I got him new “dino” sheets,

we watched “Dolphin Tale” while cuddling on the couch,

we painted our feet with fingerpaint  and made a family collage.

I feel warm again inside.

I feel like I am getting a teeny tiny bit stronger.

I know he is my angel.

A few weeks later at church I found this quote  in our monthly newsletter and it really spoke to me:

“There must be a gap of time when things don’t make sense, when confusion ruffles our peace of mind.

But that gap is a special place.

The gap is where faith is found.”

Then on April 2nd I got the news.

The test results came back,

they were positive.

Jackson has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.


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