CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Friends and family of D’Marco Jackson, a 2015 Hermitage High school graduate who recently died from cancer, said goodbye during a funeral service Saturday.
“You taught me something to never give up,” Jackson’s brother, Donovan, said fighting back tears. “For six months you were in the hospital fighting.”
Jackson lived with aplastic anemia, a condition in which his body stopped producing enough new blood cells. He also was diagnosed with MDS and PNH, according to a fundraising page, two different cancers that attacked his bone marrow.
Jackson needed a unique bone marrow match because of his mixed ethnicity, but that perfect match never materialized. April 19th, he passed away from complications following a bone marrow transplant from a donor who was not an exact match at the Children’s Hospital at VCU.
VCU Social Worker Janice Graham was one of several who spoke at Jackson’s service at Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Services in Chesterfield County.
“D’Marco was never selfish. He’s always been strong no matter what,” Graham said.
“I know we’ll be reunited someday but I’m glad you’re with the lord and out of that pain," Jayla Kemp, Jackson’s girlfriend said.
Jackson was voted Student Council Vice President, Homecoming King and a speaker at senior graduation.
Jackson said he gave that now famous graduation knowing he had suffered a relapse. But when he was on the stage delivering the speech, he said he felt like he "wasn't sick anymore."
In the speech, which was shared thousands of times on Facebook, Jackson shared inspirational advice with his classmates.
“Do not let the realities of the past or the possibilities of the future negatively affect the peace, joy, and happiness that the present has to offer,” Jackson said.