Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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Meet CJ

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Bumps and bruises are often par for the course for active and curious children. CJ Jackson was already more prone to bruises than is typical because of a blood clotting disorder, Factor V. But CJ kept having a lot of unexplained bruises on his body—more than usual.

His parents, Chasity and Chris Jackson, questioned if he was being picked on in school. He wasn’t.

The Jacksons decided to take CJ, an 11-year-old sixth-grader from Springfield, Tenn., to the family doctor to check if his bruising was something to be concerned about, beyond his blood clotting issues. CJ’s pediatrician took a blood sample.

They weren’t prepared for or expecting the news on Sept. 30, 2013, that CJ was diagnosed with leukemia. Specifically, he has T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, an aggressive blood cancer.

“We were surprised, devastated and scared,” said his mom, Chasity Jackson. “We had heard the word ‘leukemia’ before, but didn’t really know anything about it. We broke down (hearing the news). We thought, ‘He has never been sick or hospitalized. How?’”

CJ was referred to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to confirm the diagnosis and for treatment, which includes chemotherapy.

“I will never forget the look on his face. We walked back in the room where he was and he was smiling and playing the iPod. He put the iPod down and looked at me real serious with those blue eyes, and he said ‘I’ve got cancer, don’t I?’ We all broke down and held each other tightly and started praying,” said his mom.

“His story is our journey. CJ has a big heart. He tries to stay positive even when things get tough. He’s our Mighty Warrior.”

To help raise awareness and to aid in the fight against childhood cancers like leukemia, CJ and his parents are teaming up with some folks who know a thing or two about bumps and bruises, the Nashville Predators hockey team. CJ will serve as the child ambassador, representing Children’s Hospital and children fighting cancer, for Hockey Fights Cancer Night Saturday, March 1 when the Predators take on the Winnipeg Jets. He will drop the first puck of the game. The Nashville Predators raise funds for a pediatric cancer research fund through Hockey Fights Cancer game nights with silent auctions and fan donations.

“CJ is very honored and excited to be the child ambassador,” said Chasity Jackson. “He will proudly drop the puck in honor of all kids fighting cancer. He is so excited and keeps telling me daily how nervous he is.”

He is in remission and will continue his chemotherapy treatment until Feb. 20, 2017, at Children’s Hospital to keep his leukemia at bay.

“CJ's outlook is in God's hands, but it looks amazing,” says Chasity Jackson. “Vanderbilt is amazing, and we love each and every person there. They go out of their way to make sure CJ gets the best care there is.”

Vanderbilt and the Predators first became strategic partners in the fight against cancer when they joined forces in 2008. Throughout the partnership, the Predators have donated more than $700,000 and countless hours of community service. Team players and mascot Gnash make frequent visits to the Children’s Hospital to meet with patients and families.

The donations support an endowed fund established by the Predators, which helps researchers at Children’s Hospital study the molecular basis of childhood cancer and develop novel treatment approaches to improve outcomes for children.

To learn more about Hockey Fights Cancer night or to buy tickets visit Children’s Hospital’s Nashville Predators Care for Kids Web page.

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