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Jackson’s Story: Finding a Solution for a Healthy Future

​​​​​​​Boys Town SPARK Clinic offers children and families resources to help safely reshape habits, improve activity and eat healthier. It typically takes about six months of monitored medical intervention to change the life of the patient. But for some patients, like for Jackson Pafford, lifestyle changes aren't enough.

“There [were] some diets they tried to put me on that just didn't work for me, and there were also some workout routines that I wasn't seeing any success through," said Jackson. “I realized that if I wasn't going to have this surgery, then nothing would change, and I needed that change so that I could see my future."

In October 2021, with the support of his family and medical team, Jackson elected to move forward with bariatric surgery, performed by Boys Town Pediatric Surgeon Robert Cusick, M.D., at Boys Town National Research Hospital.

With the aid of this surgery and Jackson's dedication to the program prepared for him by the multidisciplinary SPARK team, Jackson has seen incredible results. Watch his story below to learn more about his journey and how his SPARK team has supported him through the successes and challenges of his weight loss.

Watch Jackson's Story

  • If it just kept going the way it was I wouldn't make it past 40.

    As everyone knows there's a pandemic of pediatric obesity and there are many different options on how to treat it and the spark clinic is where the process starts. That's where these children are referred to. We have some of the best providers, who've been doing this for years, evaluating these kids.

    "So I might have to put you on some additional vitamins just to correct that for now."

    The process takes about six months of monitored, medical intervention to see if we can lose weight.

    There was some diets that they tried to put me on that they just didn't work for me and then there was also like some workout routines that I wasn't seeing any like success through.

    The one that we do most commonly, is a sleeve resection where we remove approximately 90% of your stomach. What that does is interesting. A lot of those kids feel nausea and so they don't eat as much and then they also get full quicker.

    I came to realize that if I wasn't going to have this surgery then nothing would change and that I needed that change so that I could see my future. I want to be able to do things like normal people my age do without getting worn out. Just go out and have fun without worrying about, well am I over the weight limit for this or over the weight limit for that.

    My goal for Jackson is to be healthy get the weight off and be the best version of himself.

    It's been seven months and I've lost 122 pounds. I feel a lot better. It doesn't feel real. I was a whole different person seven months ago.  My self-esteem, a year ago, was I didn't like going outside. I didn't like anybody seeing me, like, I just felt gross, but ever since I've lost weight and had my surgery, I'm confident. I'll go out and I'll do anything.

    It's kind of nice to see the positive and see him, see himself, in a positive aspect versus looking down at himself or feeling down about his weight. And how he was feeling before, it's been a great change.

    It was really hard because I used to go from just eating whatever I could find to like now, I focus on getting the most amount of protein I can. It's been a learning experience but I wouldn't have wanted to do it anywhere else. The team at Boys Town helped out a lot. When I lost weight I was going through a lot of like mental problems. You look in the mirror and you don't recognize who you are, that kind of thing. l could talk to people there and I'm glad that I had them by my side.

    Regardless of if it's a surgery or if it's just changing your eating habits or you know lifestyle changes they'll help you with it. Be an advocate for your child and you know get them the help they need and Boys Town offers that help.

    There has been a lot of hard work but I mean if you just put your mind to it, you prioritize what you want, then you can get it done. It's just a great feeling.​​​

Patient Story Surgery and Hospital Care