BURLINGTON, NC -- It's one of those stories that makes you smile. A 6-year-old boy from Burlington, full of excitement and joy goes to Disney World to meet his favorite superhero: Spider Man. But what you probably don't see when you meet Jackson is that he is a superhero himself. But instead of fighting off villains he is battling a disease.
When he was 14 months old Jackson was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. .His mom, Jayna, says it's a progressive disease. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a chronic, incurable, progressive, and life threatening lung disease that creates narrowing of the blood vessels in the lungs. This causes additional strain on the right side of the heart and if left untreated, it can lead to failure of the right side of the heart.
"We were told when he was first diagnosed that he would probably need a heart and lung transplant since the treatments would not work," she said. "But he is exceeding expectations and transplant is not even on our radar."
Jackson is hooked to a pump 24/7, he needs medicine daily, but his parents say he's a fighter. Like his hero, Spider Man.
Jackson is a wish kid - part of the Make A Wish organization's program to grant wishes to kids fighting critical illnesses. In January Jackson's wish, to meet Spider Man, came true. He and his family traveled to Disney World. Jackson said, "it was like a miracle."
Make A Wish has a chapter here in the Triad and each year they raise thousands of dollars through the Kentucky Derby Classic event. Money that grants wishes like Jackson's. This year the event is on May 5th at High Caliber Stables. You can learn more about tickets and sponsorship here: http://www.kentuckyderbyclassic.org/
Leslie Marus, the event chair, says the Kentucky Derby Classic raised $218,000 last year and each wish costs around $6,000 per family. But that's not the only reason your help is important. Marus says these wishes are like medicine that doesn't come from a bottle.
Jackson, though, says it best.
"The Make A Wish was awesome," he said. "It just made my life better."