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‘The toughest kid’: New York football player fights lupus to get back on the field

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Every time Nas Jackson steps onto this field, he’s thankful. As is his mother, Pam, who’s watched her son overcome so much.

“From where he came from to where he is today, is nothing short of a miracle,” Pam Jackson told WKBW.

The bracelet Nas wears is a reminder of that miracle because two and a half years ago, his life changed forever.

“He went into the shower, got in the shower and my son and I heard a loud noise,” Pam Jackson said. “My older son went and looked what it was and it was Nas in the shower having a seizure.”

Nas was later diagnosed with systemic lupus. In his case, it affected his brain, kidneys, lungs and his spleen. He suffered a stroke and had to re-learn how to use the left side of his body.

“This was devastating for him mentally and physically to have this disease take him right off of his feet,” Pam Jackson said.

“There were days I was just frustrated, feeling like I couldn’t do it,” she said.

But the doctors and his family encouraged him while he held onto the dream of playing sports again.

“He was determined to get back on that field no matter what,” his mom said.

And after nearly a year of chemotherapy and physical and occupational therapy, Nas got the all clear.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever felt where you just feel blessed. Not happy, not excited, you just feel blessed that you have the opportunity to do what you love to do and that’s just how it felt.”

Which brings us to the present. Nas is a sophomore wide receiver at Buffalo State College, living out his dream.

Nas Jackson is a sophomore wide receiver at Buffalo State College.

“Knowing what he’s been through, all you can say is [it’s] inspirational,” Buffalo State Coach Christian Ozolins said. “He’s been a great role model, probably the toughest kid I’ve ever been around.”

A tough kid who uses his personal experience to help others. He’s an advocate for lupus awareness, speaking all over the country; providing a voice while leaving a legacy.

“That’s the whole point of being here,” Nas Jackson said. “It’s about how you’ll leave your mark when you’re gone. And that’s one thing I think about because it felt like my life was gone, it felt like it was over — and it wasn’t. So I’m thankful for what happened. I take it as a blessing.”

A blessing that’s shaped Nas Jackson into who he is: a guy that has overcome adversity, serves as an inspiration and lives his life with a purpose.

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