This is a story about a man— Jack Robinson, III —who believes in putting others before himself. This wonderful man became paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a terrible car accident 12 years ago. His mom, Irene Robinson, is his primary caregiver and this is their story.
Jack Robinson, III has always been the light of his mom’s life. Every chance she got, she’d tell him he was her #1 son, and he’d always say, “Ma, I’m your only son,” to which she’d reply “Yes, that’s what makes you #1!”
Irene’s caregiving journey with Jack began on March 15, 2003.
“Jack had left my apartment the day before, looking and acting tired and tense. He’d been driving back and forth from north Jersey to the Philadelphia, Baltimore-DC areas 2-3 times a week for several months. He’d been promoting a syndicated radio program and setting up his Hip-Hop ‘Peace & Unity’ Forum College Tour scheduled to start in April. All that night, I felt uneasy and called him 3 times, unable to give a reason, unable to shake an eerie feeling. And then, at 4:15 am that morning, I got the call that every mother dreads.”
A tragic car accident had left Irene’s #1 son ventilator dependent and paralyzed from his neck down. The doctors could make no promise of whether or not he’d live.
Irene slept each night in the hospital waiting room throughout Jack’s six challenging weeks in the Intensive Care Unit. From there, Jack spent a year at the Kessler Rehab Facility in West Orange, NJ; then nine years at Saint Mary’s nursing home in Orange, NJ. For the past two years, Jack has lived at home in Newark, NJ. His mom stopped working after the accident to oversee Jack’s care and today serves as Jack’s primary caregiver, due to the overwhelming responsibilities required to attend to his needs. Until spinal cord healing becomes a reality (for Jack and so many others), he will be on a respirator and confined to a special wheelchair that he controls with his mouth.
Jack and Irene have long exhausted all finances. They desperately need funds to cover the overwhelming expenses associated with Jack’s health care needs and to provide him a quality life. We are seeking to buy a specialized wheelchair accessible van for Jack so that he can get out and participate in the world again. Not having a van places limits on his interaction and identification with the outside world. Being able to get out again will bring freedom and renewal to Jack’s life. The dollars we raise will also offset costs for nurses, needed medical equipment, physical therapy and alternative therapies.
Jack also wants to give back to the world. He has always been about helping and connecting with people. Even during his nine years at St. Mary’s, Jack worked with the United Youth of New Jersey (UYNJ), mentoring and developing music and news programs. Closest to his heart is his desire to reestablish The Urban Air Journal Outreach (TUAJO), the nonprofit organization he founded in 2001 to use music, the arts and culture to educate, motivate and inspire youth. This is where Jack’s real passion lies—helping youth find purpose and meaning, steering them toward constructive outlets and activities. He desperately wants to get back to reestablishing TUAJO and working with UYNJ and other organizations to create positive change in his community. It’s the mission that keeps him going.
While Jack’s body is no longer his to control, his mind is sharper and more vibrant than ever. Jack optimistically looks forward to complete healing and recovery, to making his contributions to society, and to being an inspiration to others in overcoming obstacles.
WE WOULD DEEPLY APPRECIATE ANY DONATION YOU CAN MAKE, LARGE OR SMALL, TO HELP JACK, IRENE’S #1 SON—HER ONLY SON—REALIZE HIS DREAMS AND LIVE A FULFILLING LIFE. ALL DONATIONS ARE FOR DEPOSIT INTO THE JACK V. ROBINSON, III SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST FUND.