GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) — Nine-year-old J.D. Jackson didn’t just ask for toys for Christmas this year.
Instead, his holiday wish was for something far more important:
“Most kids are asking for toys. He’s asking for an eye,” said his mother, Mary Jackson.
J.D., 9, lost his left eye in a shooting Aug. 19: He was sitting at home watching television when someone shot into his house. The bullet entered his eye and lodged behind it without traveling into his brain.
J.D. survived the shooting, but he lost his eye.
On Thursday, Dec. 15, his wish was, in a way, granted: He received a prosthetic eye, and while he can’t see out of it, he said that he feels like himself again.
“I’m so excited and happy that I have it,” J.D. said.
With the new eye, he is looking forward to being able to play sports. He also is hoping to go to Myrtle Beach with his father.
“I just couldn’t believe that it happened. … It feels like my eye was not even gone.”
J.D. received the $6,500 eye from Southeastern Ocularists in Charlotte.
“We finally got the confirmation that he would be able to get a prosthetic (appointment) in November, November the 19th, actually,” Jackson said. “And then he had his first appointment last week, and they were able to have it designed and gave it to him today.”
Jackson said that after all the family has been through, it felt surreal to see her son finally receive his eye.
“It’s just one of those feelings that you really can’t explain,” she said. “It was just a surreal moment to be able to see him, even catch a video of it. It was an amazing moment.”
Seeing him smile, “it said a thousand words. Like, … his silence and his smiles said so much without saying anything,” Jackson said.
Jackson said that while she still hopes that someone will be held responsible for shooting her young son, she is focusing her energy on the fact that he survived.
“We’re doing better. We’re doing a lot better,” Jackson said. “When you focus on the negative, things tend to stay in a dark place. But when you focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, you tend to see things change.”
J.D. didn’t just get a new eye for Christmas — he’s getting a new house as well.
The family has not been back to their home in Gastonia since J.D. was shot. Now, they have found a new home, but out of fear for their safety, they are keeping the location a secret.
They had been struggling to find a house — they made too much money for some and two little money for others — but Jackson recently met a property manager who heard J.D.’s story and offered them a home.
For the family, it’s a new beginning, “a great fresh start,” Jackson said.