Gregory Jackson with his father Roy Jackson and mother Kitty Jackson.
Video and Story by Janelle Garcia
Gregory Jackson, a junior and member of the MVC basketball team from Warsaw, Mo., was gearing up for yet another season for the 2013-2014 Vikings. Just like every year a physical is required by a doctor before you can take part in any sport.
On September 2, Jackson went to the doctor for his physical inSweet Springs, Mo. The doctor heard a heart murmur and was unable to clear Jackson to step foot on the court. The doctor sent Jackson to a cardiologist in Kansas City. From there he was sent to St. Mary’s Hospital in Blue Springs, where he was diagnosed with three separate defects. The first one was a mitral cleft tear in his top left chamber. The second one was a VSD repair from a previous surgery he had when he was 5 months old. The most severe one was a muscular defect called right out track flow, which causes his muscles to grow incorrectly and force a lack in blood flow, which could have led to heart failure.
Like a determined defender in the game of basketball, Jackson was ready to have surgery 17 days later on September 19, in Rochester, Minnesota. Since surgery, Jackson has had a more positive outlook on life. He’s a lot more grateful for his opportunities. Now that he has dealt with hardships, he realizes everything can be taken away within a blink of an eye. Jackson said he now looks at life differently, being a lot more appreciative. “I’ll heal and recover, but I will remember that weekend and that month for the rest of my life. I think I’ll be a better person in a sort of way,” he said.
Jackson is also part of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Missouri Valley College. His TKE brothers have been very supportive and have kept in contact with him almost daily. “They were very sorry to hear the news but they helped me out a lot,” he said.
The TKE fraternity decided to have a fundraiser pancake breakfast for Jackson. “We decided to help Gregory because he is a member of TKE,” said Garrett Hill, an MVC senior and TKE president. The pancake breakfast was held at Hustler’s Sports Bar on Sunday, November 10. It was an all-you-can-eat pancake event that cost $5 as a donate to Jackson’s cause. Hustler’s provided the venue, and Hill’s mother Charlu Hill provided the supplies for the fundraiser that raised $778.
Roy Jackson, Gregory’s father, said it was an awesome idea when he found out TKE wanted to have a fundraiser for his son. When Jackson wanted to join TKE, his parents has second thoughts about the idea. “Since he’s been involved with TKE, I can’t think of a better opportunity for him to grow in different areas. Now I understand what the organization is all about,” said Roy Jackson. Roy couldn’t be happier for his son.
Jackson’s roommate Tim Wyatt met him through basketball, and Jackson talked to Wyatt about pledging for TKE. Tim was Jackson’s roommate before he had to leave for surgery. “He’s a nice guy, everyone loves him, he talkative and loves sports,” said Wyatt.
Gregory is returning to school in January for the spring semester of 2014. The doctors have physically cleared Jackson to play basketball again. His decision is still undeclared if he wants to play again. Losing about all of the muscle in his body, he has little energy right now. “Whenever I’m fully healed, we will see if I still have the drive to try to play again,” said Gregory.
Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity and Gregory Jackson at his pancake fundraiser at Hustler’s Sports Bar.