Jack Marshall: An amazing little man
“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles” – Christopher Reeve
Jack Marshall (aka Jackamo) - just typing the name brings a smile to my face. The quote above, for me, sums Jack up completely. He is my true hero. Having battled a brain tumour and endured many hospital visits over his short life, Jack still continued to smile every day and find the courage and the strength in himself to live his life to the full.
Like many people, I was devastated to hear the sad news that Jack had passed away on the October 13, 2011. Jack fought until the very end, being cuddled by his beloved Snowman and Meerkat, surrounded by people who loved him so, so much.
As everybody will know, Jackamo was a huge Manchester United fan. From a young age, he loved football. We have seen so many pictures of Jack as a toddler, playing football out the garden with his brother Josh - those are some of my favourite pictures of him. Jack had a passion for football and I truly believe that this passion is what kept him with us that much longer.
He touched so many hearts and lives, some of these people being Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs - I could go on! A special visit was arranged for Jack to meet Manchester United players. As always Jack's mum Tracey posted pictures of Jack. The pictures of him meeting his favourite players in the whole wide world Wayne Rooney melted my heart. And in true Jack Marshall style (he’ll do what he wants!) Jack captured Wayne’s heart too.
Tracey tweeted the conversation between Jack and Rooney. Jack said: “excuse me Rooney, I’d like to kiss you!” Rooney of course happily obliged - who would say no to a kiss off Jackamo? Then Jack said: “Rooney, guess what I love you! You’re the best footballer in the world!”
The pictures were amazing to see and I will never forget them. Videos were later posted of Jack's reaction to some of Rooney’s tweets (lump in my throat). For this I have the utmost respect for Rooney; he made a little boy very, very happy.
Jack loved United and that is exactly what he achieve, Jack united everyone, regardless of what team you supported. United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal to name a few - everybody came together to support this amazing little, big United fan!
Jack also had a strong connection with Arsenal's Jack Wilshere. As always Jack captured yet another heart and Wilshere spent an awful lot of time with his namesake. Jack and his family spent some time with Wilshere at his home and at the Arsenal ground, watching him play. There were various pictures posted of the two boys on Twitter and Facebook and it was clear just how much they loved spending time together!
Checking Twitter and Facebook has become part of my daily routine, seeing Jacks smile like a ray of sunshine always brightens up my day! Most people will know Jack from Twitter/Facebook, and it is all down to his loving and amazing mother Tracey Marshall keeping us all updated on this little man’s adventures and the fun things he got up to.
Like many others, I have bought a Jack Marshall Brain Tumour Fund band from www.jacksfund.co.uk to show my support for Jack and to help raise awareness. I wear my band with pride every day and will do indefinitely. This is my constant reminder that even though Jack is no longer here in person, he is always here in spirit.
I wanted to write this primarily for Jack, but I feel that I must mention Jack's amazing family. Tracey, Craig and Joshua, the love and adoration they show for Jack is amazing and is clear for everyone to see. Tracey Marshall is an exceptional woman. She has shown courage, determination and love like I have never seen before!
I feel privileged to be able to 'know' such an amazing woman. Somehow and from somewhere Tracey found the strength to carry on and make Jack's life as enjoyable and fun as possible. If you looked up 'mum' in the dictionary, I am sure Tracey Marshall would be written under it! She fought to the end for her Jackamo and never gave up. Jackamo’s memory will carry on through her and the rest of Jack's family.
It’s a cliché when people say they have known someone who 'changed their lives' but Jack Marshall has changed mine. It is a privilege to say that I follow him, and I will continue to for a very long time.
Jack is my hero, at 6 years of age, he has shown more courage and determination that most people will show in their entire lifetime and for that reason I will always be in awe of him.
Jack may not be here anymore in person but he is here in his family and every member of #jacksarmy. Jack is a little star and always will be!
We love you Jackamo, always! Sleep tight gorgeous boy.
By Beth Howell
Follow Beth on Twitter @Mrs_Str8edge