Tonawanda News

Local News

July 3, 2013

Newfound freedom for NT woman after stroke

NT's Jackie Jackson inspires stroke patients and keeps positive attitude

Tonawanda News — In 2007, Jackie Jackson suffered a brain aneurism. Over a month later, she woke up from a coma and didn’t know how to speak, walk, read or write.

The doctors held up a picture of a hammer and a nail on that first day. She had no idea what they were.

Her doctors told her she had about six months to know if she’d ever regain feeling on her right side, which was paralyzed. When she accidentally ran over her right foot with her wheelchair six months later, she said she didn’t feel a thing.

That did not alter Jackson’s perseverance.

The 56-year-old North Tonawanda native used to travel the country opening new restaurants as a Denny’s certified trainer. She’s an army veteran who always hated staying inside and never imagined she’d end up stuck in her own home. But she doesn’t dwell on what she’s lost. Instead, she said she’s motivated by how far she’s come and now uses her experience to encourage stroke victims in recovery. 

Jackson’s aneurism was caused by medicine that helped terminate her breast cancer. Today, she speaks clearly but a bit slower than she used to. She can get up from her wheelchair and walk if she’s holding onto something — she’s shaky, but she’s come a long way. Her goal is to one day get a job again, and she wants North Tonawanda residents to know that if they are impaired, it doesn’t have stop them from enjoying life.

She spent the first three years after her aneurism trying to learn how to talk, spell and walk through a lot of physical and occupational therapy. Because she’s seen betterment, Jackson, a mother of one and grandmother of three, keeps going to therapy.

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