Tonawanda News — ”If nobody was around, she couldn’t leave her apartment because there was no way she could get the ramp down by herself,” Rizzo said. “So I immediately knew that this was a hardship that needed to be taken care of.”
Now, if Jackson wants to walk her dog, Chance, to go to the corner store or Gratwick-Riverside Park, she takes her remote control and clicks a button that opens her door and leads her to her steel ramp.
”I can do whatever I want to do,” Jackson said. “I can go to the store, go to the plaza, take my dog for a walk, watch the sunset down by the river. I can visit with my neighbors, I can go to yard sales. ... Maybe some day I’ll work again.”
Speaking of walking her dog, If it wasn’t for Chance, Jackson said she wouldn’t have survived at all. As she fell on her bedroom floor at 3 a.m. on an August night in 2007, her dog threw a fit, she said. He barked and ran up and down the stairs, waking up Jackon’s brother, who lived in the downstairs apartment. He ran upstairs and found his sister having a stroke.
As her condition has improved, Jackson has also reached out to other stroke victims to show there’s hope. For the past year and a half, she has been going to Kenmore Mercy Hospital almost every Friday to talk to stroke patients.
”I don’t like to dwell on what I can’t do, it’s depressing,” Jackson said. “So I dwell on what I can do, and one of the things I can do is be an inspiration to other stroke victims.”
She said she tells patients that it’s hard to be told by doctors to “go home and deal with it,” as she was. But she emphasizes they must find something within themselves to get better.