Beating the odds
Published 1:38 pm Wednesday, April 11, 2007
By By LYDIA GRIMES – features writer
April has been designated as the month to raises awareness of cancer and celebrate those who have survived the dread disease. Relay for Life is coming up April 28, and it will be a time for acknowledging those who have survived.
Doug Jackson is a lung cancer survivor and it is his mission to spread the word and encourage others.
Jackson is a survivor of lung cancer and he is ready to point out that he was a big time smoker for most of his life.
One day he walked into a clinic because he had a cold and wanted to get some relief. He was doing heavy work and didn't take time to go to the doctor on a regular basis.
The doctor ordered an x-ray of Jackson's chest and the cancer showed up. Jackson did admit that he had been having some pain but thought it was something else.
They made the trip to Birmingham where more tests and scans were done. The doctor told Jackson that he thought the cancer had been caught in its early stages and he would be able to remove all of it. The surgery was scheduled for the next week. The lower right lobe was removed from the right lung. Everything seemed fine until they noticed that there was a leak from the lung. The doctors had to operate again and seal up the leak. Jackson's wife told them she thought they ought to use Super glue so that wouldn't happen again.
That may not have been the case a few years ago. Much progress has been made and today there are many survivors. With the help of organizations such as Relay for Life, many people do survive and there is hope that the day will soon come when cancer is a thing of the past.
Jackson said he considers it his mission to get out there and inform people about his experience and try to encourage others.
Jackson was born in Brewton, one of three children born to John H. “Tobe” Jackson and Cecilia Lambeth Jackson. He was raised on a farm south of Brewton, attended McCall-Pollard School and then Flomaton High School. He was in the band all through high school and the band was All-State during the time. After high school he went to Troy State where he played in the band and participated in choral. He received a partial scholarship to Livingston (now University of West Alabama). He served some time in the military and was a member of the 31st Infantry “Dixie” Division. He earned a degree in music in 1970 and began to teach. He has a picture of the Repton Band which looks as if the whole school population was in the band. He also served several churches as music director. He served as a volunteer chaplain with Shelby County.
After about 10 years of teaching he felt as if he was ready to do something else.
He later opened his own company, Jackson's Excavating Company, which he ran for about 10 years. He is married to a former teacher. His wife, Sammye, taught at Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery as head of the math department. She also taught at Auburn University and the University of Montevallo. He is a former chief of police, a former part-time deputy U.S. Marshal and a former dispatcher with the Alabama State Troopers in the Montgomery District.
A few years ago his father became quite ill and Jackson was needed back in Brewton to help manage his father's business. Rather than move into his father's house, he and his wife parked a motor home in the yard. And then came Hurricane Ivan, which destroyed the motor home. They then moved in with his father after Jackson's retirement.
Today they live on Foshee Road and enjoy listening to classical music along with some Southern gospel, and traveling as much as they can.