|Brryan Jackson (www.davidmehrle.com/archives/433)
A group of teens at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles crowd around a vivacious senior who loves to talk with his hands. He is an inspiration, a role model, a friend, and a victim. Eighteen-year-old Brryan Jackson is HIV positive. His life has been tainted by ridicule and reclusiveness, just as the blood injected into him as a baby was tainted with HIV. He doesn’t let that stop him, even though it was his own father who had purposely infused him with the deadly disease.
Brryan’s father, Brian Stewart, worked at a St. Louis hospital drawing blood and performing blood transfusions at the time of his crime. The reason behind his unthinkable act was simply that he was upset that he was connected to this child, and didn’t want to pay the child support. Even though tests proved that Stewart was the father, he still denied it.
When Brryan was only 11 months old he was taken to the hospital because of asthma. The moment his father was alone with the child in the hospital room, he took out a syringe filled with the blood of the HIV positive patient whom he had extracted it from and injected his son. He was sentenced to life in prison for his selfish actions. Brryan has been on numerous medications ever since this happened.
Brryan has learned the power of forgiveness, and has shown so many people that with forgiveness comes a freedom that can only be obtained by learning to let go. “God wants us to forgive people,” he said. Even though Brryan has been discouraged from dating or doing simple things such as going to parties and certain activities at school, he doesn’t get discouraged. He is said to be very loyal to his friends, and he does things like play the guitar and cheer on a squad.
On top of this, Brryan founded an organization called Hope is Vital, which is a help group for kids with AIDS. He also helps out with several other organizations. Throughout the years he has become more confident in who he is and has been able to accept his setbacks. He has helped and inspired countless children and teens who have AIDS and other life-threatening diseases.
Brryan is my hero not because I am going through the same difficulties he is, but because he has three characteristics that I really admire: his ability to forgive, his courage, and his selflessness.
He has shown forgiveness to the person who has wronged him most in his life. Forgiving someone is one of the hardest things to do sometimes, but he has overcome all the anger and bitterness he had before he was able to absolve his father’s actions.
Another thing that I really respect about Brryan is his courage. Sometimes it is hard for him to even get up out of bed and go to school because of people rejecting him or his inability to participate in things that “normal” kids get to do. He has courage to get through everyday with purpose, encouraging and inspiring those around him who see him for who he really is – not a freak who should be ignored, but a real human being who has overcome so much and has had a really hard life, but who hasn’t stopped hoping and helping others.
Brryan is truly selfless. Instead of feeling sorry for himself all the time, he has learned to accept his limitations and overcome his obstacles with a drive to show others that perseverance brings success. Far too often, I complain about my body, my circumstances, and the things I have. After hearing Brryan’s story, I realized something very important: if Brryan, who fights for his life every single day, doesn’t complain, then I have no right whatsoever to complain about the things that I have or don’t have.
Brryan has big hopes and dreams despite the past, current, and future obstacles he will face.
In the words of Ross Buehler, a prosecutor who dealt with Brryan’s case, “He’s a remarkable kid.”
Page created on 8/6/2010 12:00:00 AM
Last edited 1/4/2017 8:54:33 PM
- is a California organization which runs summer camps and other programs for HIV positive young people.
Hope is Vital
- is a non-profit organization founded by Brryan Jackson to promote education on HIV/AIDS in order to prevent the spread of HIV, disband myths and reduce negative stigma related to being HIV positive.