Children's Cookbook to Help Milledgeville Family

- A newly-released children's cookbook will help a local family with big hearts.

The "Hope for Brody" cookbook is named for the two children who will benefit from it most.

Leigh and T.J. Jackson adopted their daughter Hope just after she was born.  A few years later, they decided to add to their family when they discovered Hope's biological mother gave birth to another baby.

Brody, however, was born prematurely at just 31 weeks and was diagnosed with a host of medical issues including Spastic Cerebral Palsy.  Brody is blind, non-verbal and suffers from seizures.

"We spend a lot of our time at doctor's appointments,"  said Leigh Jackson.  "It's challenging, but at the end of the day, we know that we're doing the right thing."

The Jacksons operate a Facebook page for Brody and often post videos of their two children in the kitchen.  Hope has loved to cook since she was just two-years-old.

"Hope always had a dream of doing cooking and that's always been her thing and she's always wanted to help Brody," Leigh explained.

Hope's love of all things culinary is what inspired the cookbook project. 

Kathy Qualey and her mother, Martha Ouderkirk, run a children's creative website called Zelix Zone.  They worked with the Jacksons to publish the book using animated characters from the site and family recipes.

Tripp Halstead, the boy who was severely injured when a tree limb fell on him at daycare, even has a featured recipe. 

"We share a lot of the same struggles and you know, we all understand what each other's going through every day," said T.J. Jackson.  "So, it's nice that we can all come together." 

Leigh stays home with Brody and T.J. recently lost his job when the company he worked for shut down operations.  They hope the cookbook will allow them to focus on their family rather than their finances.

"We're just praying that it'll help change our family so we're not struggling so much, because we struggle every day," Leigh revealed. 

The family hopes to some day buy their own home so they can make it handicapped-accessible for Brody.

"Every day is about seeing them smile and living life to the fullest," said Leigh.

For more information on the cookbook, visit:

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