J.J. Jackson credits his best friend, Motown legend Stevie Wonder, with inspiring him to become a Sparrow Volunteer last November. First diagnosed with cancer in 2001 and again in 2004, Jackson depended on his friendship with Wonder to help battle the disease. Jackson now wants to provide this kind of support to others.
"I wanted to find a way to give back the love," says the visually impaired Jackson, who met Wonder when they were students at the Michigan School for the Blind as young teenagers.
Jackson has earned rave reviews for his visits to Patients. He reads jokes from his Braille Reader's Digest, pulls out a photo of himself as best man at Wonder's wedding, displays artifacts from a trip to Africa, and tries to inspire others with his unlikely life story.
"We want them to know Sparrow cares for them beyond the Patient part," he says. "That level of caregiving, it's loving other people."