Meet Jackson and his family. His parents say that Jackson is pretty much like any other 3 year old, except he wears a backpack with his pump in it 24/7 and he takes multiple medications a day for his pulmonary hypertension.
He almost always has a smile on his face despite all that he has to go through. Jackson loves the normal boy things: Spiderman, superheros, monster trucks, tractors, and dinosaurs! One of his favorite things to do is play “punch, punch, punch” (play wrestling/boxing) with his daddy. His favorite cartoon is Tom & Jerry or Donald Duck, although he enjoys Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Team Umizoomi and Bubble Guppies as well. He is adorable, joyful, loving, courageous, and inspiring.
Jackson was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) on August 21st, 2012 when he was 14 months old. Pulmonary hypertension is when the small arteries (blood vessels) of the lung become narrowed and pressure builds up in them. The right side of the heart pumps blood through the lungs, where it picks up oxygen. Then, the blood returns to the left side of the heart, where it is pumped to the whole body. The heart needs to work harder to force the blood through the vessels against this pressure. Over time, this causes the right side of the heart to become enlarged. IPAH is rare. Usually in children they are able to find a cause, such as a hole in the heart or another heart condition that causes the PH. In Jackson’s case they have yet to find a cause, so they are considering it IPAH.
In the words of his mother, “We love him to the moon and back. He is my hero.”
A special thank you to Casey Tarpy of Casey Rose Photography for donating her time and talent.