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

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Tonawanda News — ”I started feeling things are coming back, then I go back into therapy to kind of focus on that part that’s getting better,” Jackson said. “Part of living life, it is what it is. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to keep a positive attitude and sense of humor.”

On Mondays and Wednesdays, she goes to occupational therapy and on Thursdays she takes a computer class that helps with speech, reading and comprehension.

Within the first year, she wasn’t able to get out of her wheelchair at all. After two years, Jackson was able to stand up. By the fourth year, she could walk longer distances with a straight cane if someone brought her outside.

But having literally no way to leave her home without someone’s help left her feeling extremely trapped.

She could only go outside if a family member, an aide or a neighbor was around to help.

For four years, in fact, she watched North Tonawanda residents walk outside, play and enjoy the sunshine through her front window. 

She wanted to get a ramp installed at her door that she could use to get in and out of her house, walk her dog, go to the store and attend outdoor concerts as she pleased.

But the North Tonawanda officials would not allow it. City officials at the time said it protruded onto the sidewalk, which is against city code, she said.

Jackson considered moving out, but it was important for her to stay in her North Tonawanda house, which used to be her mother and father’s grocery store. When they passed away, Jackson and her brother inherited the property and the two have lived in its separate apartments ever since.

She said she called First Ward Alderman Russ Rizzo, and he worked with a city building inspector to approve a ramp system at her door.

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