My Inspiration

October 22, 2008
By Ashley Munk, Dell Rapids, SD

Have you ever wondered what life would be like without your legs? Not many people can. My little brother, Jackson, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy on his day of birth. No one saw any of the events coming, so it came as a shock to all of us. The cries, screams, tears, worries and laughter all played a huge and important role on this normal, but mysterious day.
It all started out one quiet and early morning on February 8th, 1998. My father had ventured off to work earlier in the morning, leaving my mother, sister, and brother at home. We were all young when we heard the screams and had no idea what was going on. Tanner, my younger brother, and I awoke quickly from my parents bedroom and ran directly to the bathroom. The doors were locked and my mother was silent. We tried to open the doors but they just wouldn’t budge. I got down onto the floor, as well as my brother, and we saw underneath the crack in the door, my mother lying on the floor, motionless. She was dead, we just knew it. What else was wrong? Before we knew it, my mother cried for help, and said there was blood, a lot of it.
Tanner and I raced to the bedroom where my younger sister, Bailey, slept and told her to wake up immediately. My siblings and I managed to unlock the door and break into the bathroom. There was blood all over the floor, and my mother was sobbing. She was frantically screaming, “Call your father and tell him something urgent is going on!” “Call your Aunt Marylan, tell her I need her help now!” As we waited my mother kept reciting, “I hope I still have Jackson, I hope I still have Jackson.” It was nine weeks before his due date! He wouldn’t be coming out this early would he? We all figured Jackson wouldn’t make it.
My aunt had arrived approximately five minutes after we contacted her. Marylan frantically rushed into the house, and saw all of us crying. She motioned for us to get dressed as quickly as possible and get into the truck. In a flash the five us were speeding down the interstate to the local hospital. There was no time to lose!
We were greeted at the hospital by my father, who had gotten off of work as soon as he could. My mother was placed on a hospital bed and wheeled into the emergency room. Bailey and I sat holding each other, scared to death of what was taking place in the room where my mother was being examined. Tanner was playing with the optical illusion toys in the other room, not seeming to care, while my father sit with his head in his knees. The doctor rushed out of the room and exclaimed, “Darwin, we need you in the room now!” “Lisa is going into labor!” And in that moment, my whole world stopped. I was about to have a new baby brother!
About two hours later, my father rushed out of the room and shouted, “Kids, come take a look at your new little brother!” We were all so excited and sprinted into the room. I remember all of us cheering, smiling, and even laughing! Who would expect any of those to happen looking back at the awful morning? Jackson was passed around the room to each of us, where we all shared our hugs and kisses with him. The most exciting moment of our lives quickly turned to one of the most thankful when my mother mentioned, “Babies, your father and I have something very important to tell you.”
My mother explained to us how she was a half an hour from dying and how Jackson was fifteen minutes from dying. She was losing about nine cups of blood every two minutes. Then she made the statement that changed all of our lives forever. “The doctor said Jackson was starved off of oxygen this morning when I collapsed in the bathroom, and the left side of his body has been damaged. He has a condition known as Cerebral Palsy, which means he is going to have a lot of trouble walking throughout his life.” Of course, we were little and didn’t quite understand what it meant, but we knew it wasn’t good. All we knew was that a two pound baby who survived was very lucky in our book.
Today Jackson is such a joy to be around. Jack smiles, laughs, play video games, gets in trouble, gets good grades, and even annoys me, but I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world! He is in the third grade and has tons of friends. He gets around in a wheelchair at school, sometimes uses a walker, and crawls or gets carried around when he is at home. Jackson is fairly heavy and is quite a workout, but every time I pick him up, I know he would choose to walk if he only had a chance.
There are always those hard times to deal with when it comes to Jackson, but my family has learned to maneuver with them. Jackson has had a huge impact on my life, as well as my families and many other people’s. My father always hears how great of a kid Jack is, and how his smile just brightens up their day. I find that hard to believe at some times, because I know how naughty he can be. No matter how much trouble he ever gets into, there are always those cute little sayings, the batting of the eyelashes, and that bright white smile that are just enough to keep you from getting too mad. He is the toughest, cutest, and most intelligent little boy I know, and will probably ever know, but I am so thankful and glad to share his lifelong journey of Cerebral Palsy right along with him.

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