HENDERSON — During his eight years, Bryson Jackson has had 20 surgeries — the first before he was born, the most recent just last week. That last one took six hours.
But he hasn’t had to go it alone. In addition to his parents, Hope and Matt Jackson, and his grandparents, Jenny and Tommy Hester, he has a brotherhood of real-life warriors pulling for him.
They’re the Brotherhood of Warriors, a nonprofit organization created to support veterans.
Founder Brad Clayton said members of the Brotherhood met Bryson in August at the tournament held to celebrate the reopening of Kerr Lake Country Club. They saw the fight in Bryson and have rallied to support him.
Hope Jackson said Bryson’s spina bifida was diagnosed when she was 19 weeks pregnant with him. Fetal surgery was performed when she was 22 weeks pregnant. He was born at 32 weeks, weighing three pounds.
Bryson is paralyzed from the waist down. He is on a routine of regular physical therapy.
But he stays active.
Just one example of his motivation: In 2018, he participated in the fall festival sponsored by the Miracle League of Franklin County, an annual event providing activities for individuals with special needs. There was Bryson wearing a Batman mask and ready to take on the Joker in his Batmobile wheelchair.
Last week, when Bryson was in the hospital in Chapel Hill, the Brotherhood of Warrior brought greetings to him. Clayton said when he heard of Bryson’s most recent surgery, he and several members went to the hospital to give him a boost.
While Bryson watched from a window, members of the Brotherhood paraded across the street, Clayton on horseback, as they hoisted balloons and signs of encouragement to the young warrior.
“Bryson, get well soon!!!” the signs said. “Bryson, the Brotherhood [loves] you!”
When the signs were delivered to him, Bryson shared them with his medical caretakers.
“He’s a trooper,” Clayton said. “He’s touched some combat-hardened veterans. And I believe they’ve touched him.”