Love and support at NSA

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, December 11, 2014

Any cancer diagnosis is frightening, and every person who receives such a diagnosis finds himself turning to others for support he might never have expected to need. When a child is diagnosed with cancer, though, the feelings of fear and helplessness can go much deeper, and the support needed to fight the disease can be far greater.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy sixth-grader Jackson Greene and his family have been learning just how much that kind of support can mean in the face of Jackson’s recent diagnosis of Stage III Hodgkin’s lymphoma. On Tuesday, Jackson was celebrated and bolstered by the entire NSA student body, which participated in a variety of events centered on the theme “Nobody fights alone.”

The school’s “Greene Out” gave students and faculty a chance to show their support for Jackson by wearing green, purchasing green bracelets and T-shirts with a “Super Jax” logo drawn by the boy during one of his recent visits to Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, enjoying a series of basketball games and donating money to help with the family’s medical expenses.

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Jackson’s whole family has connections to NSA. Sisters Addy and Arynne and brother Parker are all NSA students, his father Andy is a 1986 graduate and his mother Ashley is a 1987 graduate. Jackson’s grandfather, William Owen, used to be the school’s upper school headmaster, and Ashley used to work on the school’s administrative faculty.

In a very real sense, NSA sees itself as Jackson’s extended family, and, as such, it is not surprising that the school has taken his diagnosis so personally. Their support, Ashley Greene said this week, “is a true testament to the culture of community service at NSA.”

Jackson and his family have had some rough days since his diagnosis this fall, but they have received comfort from the knowledge that they’re not fighting this disease alone, and the folks at NSA have set a fine example of how to come alongside a hurting friend with love and support.