Jackson’s battle with leukemia gives new perspective on life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 16, 2001

Bryan Jackson does not remember much about his fight against leukemia that began when he was 3-years-old.

&uot;I remember bone marrows and spinal taps; they hurt,&uot; said the 20-year-old Natchez resident.

With his leukemia in remission for several years now, Jackson said fighting the disease gave him a new perspective on life.

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&uot;It’s made me think that from a spiritual viewpoint … I’m here for a purpose,&uot; Jackson said.

And that purpose is to serve God.

&uot;(It’s) to live for Christ and to try to live like he did and to spread his word,&uot; he said.

Jackson wrote about his experience with cancer for the American Cancer Society Mid-South Division’s scholarship contest this year.

With Jackson’s application, he received a $1,000 scholarship; one of 100 scholarships awarded in the division, which covers six states.

Another Natchez resident, Anna Smith, the daughter of Danny and Mary Katherine Smith, also won a $1,000 scholarship.

In addition to being cancer survivors, Jackson and Smith both received cancer treatments at St. Jude&160;Children’s Research Hospital, in Memphis, Tenn., as children.

Jackson made his last visit to the hospital when he was 18-years-old and was officially released from treatment.

During that visit, Jackson said seeing some of the same nurses who treated him and seeing the new patients helped him remember his time at the hospital.

&uot;I kind of related to them,&uot; he said. &uot;It … brought back some things that I couldn’t remember.&uot;

For example, he could remember the smell of what the patients called the medicine room.

&uot;We used to hold our nose when we went in there,&uot; he said.

Now getting ready to start his sophomore year at Mississippi College in Clinton, Jackson said he occasionally talks to other students about his cancer experience.

&uot;That’s what made me see (that) I had a second chance,&uot; he said.

Jackson is the son of Kenny and Tamy Jackson.