Meet Christy Jackson
Christy Jackson is a parent, an advocate for the special needs community, and a creative. Most importantly to her, she is Addison, Lane, and June’s Mom. She believes that everyone deserves love, acceptance, and access to adventure, regardless of their abilities.
As the parent of a child with special needs and a member of the Board of Directors for Harper’s Playground and Smile Oregon, she is dedicated to promoting equity and inclusion in public and private spaces.
Christy was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, where she lives adventurously with her family. Her love of writing began under the piano at her grandparents’ house, where she would write short novels for her Grandma Phyllis to edit. It has been a lifelong dream for Christy to share stories with readers like you.
This book is inspired by my daughter, June: a fierce warrior and the strongest little girl I know. She was born with a rare genetic neurological disease called Polymicrogyria (PMG).
PMG comes with other diagnosis such as Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, and Microcephaly, all which June has. Despite all of these challenges, what you’ll notice first about June is her spunk and love for playing with her siblings and friends. She opens her mouth up wide to show she likes you. Her soft giggles and squeals can make anyone smile. June adores Sesame Street, especially Elmo!
Just like the character in this story, she loves to spend time outdoors with the people she loves most, feeling the fresh air on her face. She was a gifted a travel trailer by Make-a-Wish and this has unlocked so many possibilities for us as a family. The loud booms of holiday fireworks make her laugh. Best of all, she also really enjoys cuddling up close to Mom and Dad with her favorite blanket (handmade for her by her Grandma Sheri).
I hope June’s story inspires you to spread joy, love, and kindness.
The many long spells we’ve spent at the hospital with June have given me time to think about her and other children just like her. And from this headspace, I started to write and explore ways of sharing June’s story to help other children and families relate and understand this simple truth: there are children like her all over the world that deserve love and friendship, just like you.
One night, as I sat in a quiet hospital room, June asleep in her crib, a thought kept crossing my mind: life was moving along outside, yet inside the hospital everything seemed to be at a standstill. I longed for the days at the park spent with my children, road trips in the car to fun places, and spending time at home doing normal family things.
Over time, it has become clear to me that others are probably thinking the similar things, wanting similar comfort. So, I started to write down my thoughts and visions for how I wanted to share June’s journey. This is how ‘Just Like You’ was born.
Our children with special needs are the same as all other children. They crave love, acceptance, empathy, and understanding. I wanted to tell a story that showed how June experiences the world, the same, yet just a little different. I also wanted it to resonate with parents and help them teach their children that equity and inclusion is important.
‘Just Like You’ is meant to be a story for the generations. It is meant to create a bridge, to open conversations about how we can include and share life’s adventures with all people, regardless of the way we look, act, or talk.