Kareem Jackson brightens holidays for sick children

Wednesday, December 23, 2015
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The Texans Kareem Jackson made it a special holiday for children at TCH and MD Anderson.

For young cancer patients at Texas Children's and M D Anderson Hospitals, Santa came early, bearing pint-sized footballs, and a big smile.

The Houston Texans Kareem Jackson left his #25 Texans jersey at home, opting for his t-shirt which read "Kareem's Dream Team."

He's been where the young patients' families are now; in hospital rooms, by their children's side, boosting their spirits during treatment and therapy.

Jackson's sister was treated for leukemia when he was four years old. He remembers those days still, and he's acted on it.

"I just wanted to be in a situation where I could help the kids, the families, the siblings. Just be the helping hand and tell them everything's gonna be OK, if I could," he said.

He's been doing that for several years, partnering with Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance. Jennifer Giambi is one of the group's founding family members, and says Jackson provides some therapy of his own.

"They get to have fun and see a hero of the Houston Texans and someone who had a fumble recovery on Sunday, it's exciting and gives you a chance to be a kid," she said.

Avery Speaks is one of those kids.

"They always try to get our minds off stuff and it's really special for us," she said.

Her mother, Connie Speaks takes it further, saying "The hurting and the pain and all the above, to have somebody like Kareem come up, it's special for these kids and we appreciate it so much."

For Jackson, it all goes back to his sister, who recovered from leukemia. He continues to pay it forward.

"It definitely hit home for me, and to come up here every year and be able to give them tickets, make things better for them any way I can, I definitely want to do that," he said.

Santa wears #25.