Jackson Sparks was a spitfire. He loved sports, could turn anything into a ball and bat, and slam-dunked objects around the house. He loved wrestling with his older brother, Tucker; he was obsessed with the dinosaur mosasaurus; and his favorite superhero was the Hulk. “He was bigger than life; he was feisty,” says his dad, Aaron. “He had fight in him,” adds mom Sheri.
On November 21, 2021, Jackson and Tucker were marching with their baseball team, the Waukesha Blazers, in the Waukesha Christmas parade when a driver burst through barricades and drove through the parade route. Jackson and Tucker were both hit and rushed to the hospital, where Tucker survived the attack and began to heal from his injuries. But sadly, the Sparks family learned that there was no hope of recovery for Jackson.
Sheri and Aaron made the brave, selfless decision to donate Jackson’s organs so that he could save the lives of others. “I’ve always had strong feelings about organ donation,” says Sheri, who put herself in the shoes of parents whose children are waiting for a lifesaving transplant. “I can’t imagine the torment that parents must feel waiting for that phone call.”
For Aaron, it was important that his son leave a legacy of helping others. “We believe that even though Jackson passed, if he can help other kids or other families, we’re 100% on board with that,” he says. “We wanted Jackson to be able to help, even in death.”
Jackson donated his corneas, heart, pancreas, liver, intestines and kidneys to save and heal the lives of other people in need. “It softens the blow a little bit,” Sheri says, knowing that her son saved four lives and restored the sight of another. “How honorable for Jackson to fulfill that need and the lives that he helped. Jackson has a little piece of helping them live,” Aaron says.
Now, the Sparks family keeps Jackson’s memory alive through the Jackson Sparks Foundation, which builds on Jackson’s love of baseball and makes dreams come true for other kids. “Our foundation is trying to prolong passions and dreams,” Aaron says.
Though they miss their little boy, Sheri and Aaron remember him fondly and look forward to the time they will see him again. “He was so sweet and tender-hearted,” Sheri says. “We know Jackson is in Heaven and we’ll be with him again,” Aaron adds. “We just like to remember him. I think God sends us signs; it’s a way He gives us peace. It’s all part of the process of trying to heal and move forward, as hard as it is.”
Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the organ transplant waiting list.
Approximately 113,000 men, women, and children are waiting for life-saving organ transplants. One organ donor has the power to save up to eight lives and change the outcomes of someone’s world forever by giving them a second chance. Additionally, tissue donation can save and improve the lives of up to 75 people with their gifts. You can make a huge impact by registering as an organ and tissue donor.