Most 14-year-olds started their freshman year of high school last week, walking through the halls to class somewhat excited, somewhat nervous.
Jordan Jackson spent his first day of ninth grade not in school, but in the hospital, battling nausea and vomiting possibly from chemotherapy instead of a case of butterflies in his stomach.
Jackson was diagnosed July 20 with acute myelogenous leukemia — a rare form of cancer that causes the body to produce an overabundance of white blood cells that are normally used to fight infection. AML symptoms include fever, weight loss, fatigue and weakness, poor appetite and easy bruising or bleeding.
Crystal and Jason Dasher of Creative Times Charities are holding an all day fundraising event on Aug. 23, beginning with a Ride for Jordan and ending with a benefit concert featuring Josh Sanders.
“This will be an eventful day opened to the public for a good cause,” said Crystal Dasher. “All the way around, Jordan is a good soul person who takes things very good. Some days he does do better than others though. He’s one of those kids who in the summer time gets really bored and is ready to get back to school.”
Jackson, a native of Effingham County, attended South Effingham Middle School last year, and was supposed to start South Effingham High School this fall. According to his great aunt Pauline Morgan, Jackson’s heart rate dropped down into the 50s on Thursday morning and in the past few weeks, his temperature has soared above 104 degrees.
But his grandmother said he was doing better by Thursday afternoon.
“He’s on oxygen right now, but he doesn’t have a fever,” said Dottie Taylor.
This Sunday marks a month since Jackson’s been in Memorial Health University Medical Center. His grandmother said they don’t know when he will be able to come home.
“I doubt it will be any time soon,” Taylor said.
Jackson’s 17-year-old brother, Jonathan, shaved his head as a show of support for his sibling. Several of Jordan Jackson’s friends shaved their heads as well, letting him know “We got your back!”
The family has created a Web site for Jackson on the Caring Bridge Web site, where friends, family and anyone who would like to send their well-wishes can visit, read daily updates and leave encouraging messages (http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jordanjackson).
Details of the events:
Ride for Jordan commences at 8 a.m. Participants will meet at John’s V-Twin Cycle Shop located at 77 W. Fairmont Ave. in Savannah. The cost is $25 per person to participate. Each person will be given a meal ticket, a door prize ticket and a map of the ride, which is approximately 100 miles. There will also be an opportunity to purchase 50/50 raffle tickets and additional door prize tickets for $2 each or three for $5.
The last stop of the ride will be L. Scott Stell Community Park on Bush Road between Highway 204 and Little Neck Road, where most riders will be arriving around 2:30-3 p.m.
At 3 p.m., the charity cookout and family fun day begins at the park. The tickets will be $10 per adult plate and $5 per child’s plate (age 12 and under). Both come with a beverage.
All Ride for Jordan participants will eat for free as long as they have their meal ticket.
At 4 p.m., there will be a “Going Bald for Jordan” event where individuals will have their heads shaved for a donation of $10. Jeremy Sessions and other volunteers will do the shaving.
In addition, the Savannah Community Blood Bank will have a mobile unit at the park taking blood donations.
Josh Sanders will perform a benefit concert while the afternoon’s festivities take place.
For more information, contact Crystal Dasher at (912) 704-1583.
Anyone interested in contributing to the Jordan Jackson Medical Fund can do so at any Bank of America branch.