NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Ronald McDonald House in Nashville was home for Carthage couple Karen and Stephen Hackett after their son Jordan was born in June of 2002 with a severe heart defect.
“He had surgery at four days old and we stayed at the Ronald McDonald House while he was in Vanderbilt children’s hospital; we stayed there for a total of 70 nights,” Karen Hackett said.
Jordan had two open heart surgeries and after the second one, he got an infection that took his life. He was just four months and one week old.
“We saw right away that our lives had been changed forever and that we had two choices: we could let it ruin us or we could try to find some good. We believe that’s what the Lord intended us to to do,” Hackett said.
Karen and her husband have followed that intention over the past 17 years raising money for the Ronald McDonald House and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
“We saw that it helped families going through hard times, of course. It helped children who were sick in the hospital, but it also helped us,” Hackett said. “It helped heal our hearts, so we kinda look at it like we’re serving the Lord, we’re serving others, and we’re serving ourselves too a little bit because it has been therapy for us.”
Karen and Stephen started the Jordan Hackett Foundation. They host the Race for Jordan 5k Run/Walk at the Cordell Hull Dam. This May will be the 17th annual race.
“We hope to raise money every year for the rest of our lives to donate in memory of Jordan,” Hackett said. “So far we’ve raised over half a million dollars; I would love for us to do a half a million more in the next ten years.”
The Hacketts stay busy giving back. They deliver meals to the Ronald McDonald House and family room at Vanderbilt children’s. They also sponsor a parent sleep room at the hospital and have given out 33 scholarships to high school students in Smith County in memory of Jordan.
“We’re able to take his life and help others with it,” Hackett said. “We hear that from a lot from people, that they feel like that he’s seen in a lot of different ways and that really makes our heart smile.”
Throughout the Ronald McDonald House there are signs that read “This is the House that Love Built.” Love from families like the Hacketts and the many people who have supported the Jordan Hackett Foundation in honor of a young boy whose short life has had a long-lasting legacy.
The 17th annual Race for Jordan will be held Saturday, May 2nd. You can register here.
March 3rd we will introduce you to our fourth finalist in the running to win a trip to The Mel Robbins Show as we wrap up our Remarkable Women series.