Austin Jackson put his NFL career on the line to save his little sister. It was a sacrifice that has ultimately paid off. Now he’s using his NFL platform as a way to save other’s lives in the same predicament as his sister was.
"Really, I just want to start getting the word out and talking about it," Jackson said.
But Jackson is far from all talk. The Miami Dolphins tackle put his football career, and his health, at risk two years ago when he saw his little sister suffering, and desperate for a cure.
“About two years ago I became a donor for my younger sister, who has Diamond-Blackfan anemia, which is a rare blood disorder she was born with," Jackson explained. "But like a lot of kids with blood cancers, blood disorders and any type of anemias, their condition worsens as they get older. So about two years ago, I became a bone marrow transplant donor for my little sister.”
The toll on Jackson’s body may have slowed him down in that ensuing 2019 season at USC , but the Dolphins couldn’t think of a better guy than Jackson to protect QB Tua Tagovailoa. He's a tackle who’s used to sacrificing his body. For that, his sister Autumn is ever grateful.
“She’s made a fun recovery," Jackson said with a smile. "She went from going to the doctor like once every two weeks to like never, so that’s great. She’s not the only one though. There are a lot more kids like that, and that’s why I really want to help those kids too by getting the word out.”
Jackson organized for a "Be the Match" truck to be at camp this week, an organization that connects patients with donor matches for bone marrow or blood stem cells. He hopes others will be inspired to learn more and save lives.
"He’s got a platform to speak to you guys and reach all the Miami Dolphins fans and football fans who watch," head coach Brian Flores said. "I think it’s great that he’s doing that and he has my full support to do it.”
"I went through it in the middle of a football season and came back, and still had a great season," Jackson said. "It’s not as bad as you think and it’s such an easy way to save a life. So easy.”