In 2004, just about to turn twelve, Khadijah Jackson was like a lot of children her age. She liked to read, liked Hello Kitty and was entering her sixth year as a cheerleader. She had a gift for writing and infused her work with a fine sense of pace and humor.
Her mother, Kathrine, says, "She was always busy. Always doing something good."
But that year, Khadijah's world changed when she was informed that she would need a bone marrow transplant to treat her for sickle cell anemiaToo few red blood cells in the bloodstream, resulting in insufficient oxygen to tissues and organs..
For most children her age, hearing news like that would hurt. The news hurt Khadijah. But she faced her transplant with a determination and courage that was, frankly, beyond her years. You see, Khadijah is a fighter.
The process drew her family closer. Her older brother, Rashad, was the donor. The family served as caregivers, inspiration and pillars during recovery. They prayed and they stayed strong during the inevitable setbacks.
Khadijah is a survivor. Today, she is a high school student who is a lot like many other children her age. But she's different, too. She is still a cheerleader, still likes to read. She swims, skates, and dances. She still has a gift for writing, still has an ear for dialogue and can summon humor at the stroke of key. Her teachers and her family are inspired when they hear Khadijah's stories. Recently, she and several of her classmates wrote and performed a play about their experiences as teenagers.
She has an eye on the future. Having a transplant can give you an understanding for the importance of having future goals and achieving them. Khadijah will go to college. Maybe she will be a famous author. Maybe she will find a career in medicine, which she is interested in pursuing. Maybe her strength as a young woman will inspire others to survive and thrive. The future is ahead, but her mother knows one thing about her brave daughter. "She'll always be busy. Always doing something good."