On May 15th, 2001, Larry and Yamile Jackson had a baby boy who was born prematurely and barely clinging to life. As she looked down at her little boy – who at just 1 pound, 15 ounces was no bigger than the palm of her hand – behind the glass of the incubator, Yamile Jackson felt a deep sorrow, unlike anything she had ever experienced.
Little Zachary was fighting for his life. But this mom refused to give up on her son and did everything in her power to make sure he would survive — and you won’t believe how she did it!
Because she couldn’t stay with her son 24/7, Yamile began looking for a way to maintain a sense of contact with Zachary. With a PhD in both ergonomics and human factors engineering, Jackson was desperate to help her son and wondered if there was a way comfort him in her absence.
Applying her instincts as both a mother and an engineer, Yamile adapted a pair of garden gloves to serve as her “surrogate” hands, duplicating her touch, warmth, and scent. She called the gloves ‘Zaky’.
Three weeks after his birth, Zachary survived the fury of Tropical Storm Allison that flooded his hospital in Houston and shut down all power to his life-support equipment. Larry, Yamile, and the staff kept him alive “by hand” for 9 hours until he was evacuated.
The nurses had realized how comforted Zachary seemed by the gloves his mother made for him and wanted to try them on the other NICU babies. Jackson made 100 gloves for the hospital.
Realizing that thousands of mothers faced the same challenges with their “preemies” and other special needs children, Yamile began looking for ways to transform her makeshift gloves into a product that can help others. She eventually formed the company Nurtured by Design and awarded a grant from Oprah to help grow her project.
Against incredible odds, Zachary is not only alive, but he is also healthy, smart, funny, enjoys golf and gets in trouble like any other 11-year-old. Zachary is an excellent student and this month he finished his first triathlon!
Thank God for Yamile Jackon’s incredible invention. Every NICU baby needs a Zaky!
Watch her story below and please SHARE it share to help raise awareness about this life-saving product!