HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Hundreds of friends and family of inspirational teen, D’Marco Jackson, filled a Henrico gymnasium for his celebration of life service Saturday.
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, two different cancers that attacked his bone marrow, according to a fundraising page.
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.
It’ll be Lucet Martinez’s first Mother’s Day without her son, D’Marco.
“Tomorrow is going to be tough, very tough,” Martinez said fighting back tears. “Last year this day D’Marco was going to his prom.”
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."
“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.
“Before cancer even touched his life he was special,” D’Marco’s school counselor Jaime Conklin told the crowd dressed in purple, the teen’s favorite color.
Martinez now has a new fight – to get people signed up to "be the match."
”To know that somebody can be that match, be the cure, and save a life and give the gift of life, that means more to me than anything,” Martinez said.
In lieu of flowers, family members ask you register to be a bone marrow donor at bethematch.org or click here to support D'Marco's campaign.