Kya Jackson Deifies Doctors Expectations

-9th grade

-Mr. Williams and Mr. Corbin

-College and staying active

-I’m really clumsy so I fall a lot

Senior Kya Jackson may have been born with Cerebral Palsy and a quarter-sized chunk of her brain missing, but this hasn’t stopped her from pursuing passions that require physical and mental strength.   

Jackson was diagnosed when she was eighteen months old with Cerebral Palsy. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Cerebral Palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move, maintain balance, and proper posture. It is caused by abnormal brain development or damage. 

“The doctor said I wouldn’t be able to do anything I do today. Basically, what it does is it affects my whole left side,” said Jackson.

She has been running cross country for the past seven years and began because her friends were joining. Her doctor told her to be as active as possible, so she thought cross country was a good idea, but it hasn’t been a walk-in-the-park. Jackson said there were times she wanted to give up. 

“…but you can’t quit if you don’t want to do something. Determination is really what got me through,” said Jackson.

Throughout the years of running, her mindset has matured. It still hurts her to run, but now Jackson has a positive outlook. 

“It all depends on what mindset you have. If you have a negative one, you aren’t going to make it, but if you have a positive one, you will,” said Jackson.

Jackson not only credited her mindset with helping move her forward, but also her body. When she started, she wore an ankle-foot orthosis brace. It isolates the muscles one uses for running, according to Jackson.

“It looked like a flimsy leg, kind of like a fish. But now, I don’t have a brace, so my muscles are used to it. I have just gotten a lot stronger,” said Jackson.

Jackson not only runs cross country but also competes on the school’s alpine ski team. Being right-side dominant means that Jackson basically skis using the strength of one leg. 

“It is really hard to do certain stuff, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do it. My coach says, you’re gonna do this! You’re gonna do this! It may not be pretty, and you may fall. But I still do it,” said Jackson.

In addition to cross country and alpine skiing, she gets stronger through cross fit year-round, minus when she’s running cross country. During the summer, she’s a junior coach for Park County Youth Cycling. 

“My parents have always been there and my sisters. My sisters will do something challenging, and I’ll think I’m gonna do that,” said Jackson. “Of course, there are some things I can’t do. But my family always does things that challenge me, so my family tells me I should do challenging tasks even though I want to quit sometimes,” said Jackson.

Overall, Jackson doesn’t let her disability hold her back. She is being more active and courageous than most would imagine. 

“It’s a bump in the road. I view it like that. You have to slow down and look at it in a different way. It’s also like construction. You gotta get through. It’ll just take a while,” said Jackson.