What helped the Sparks family get through? The community and The Jackson Sparks Foundation
WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- "It takes a village to raise a child" -- you've probably heard that cliché.
But it also takes a village to mourn one. The Sparks family knows that all too well.
Aaron, Sheri and Tucker Sparks sat down with Jessob Reisbeck to talk about the unwavering community support, The Jackson Sparks Foundation and a big event on Friday.
Jackson Sparks lost his life in the Waukesha parade attack, but when he did, all of us gained inspiration. People all over the country falling in love with the 8-year-old from Wisconsin.
"It's just amazing to know that so many people care," said Jackson's dad, Aaron Sparks.
And that was on full display Dec. 3, 2021. "Jerseys for Jackson" flooded social media. A man in Texas, with roots in Wisconsin, asked people to wear their favorite jersey that day and post about it -- and man, did they. Brewers players Christian Yelich and Brent Suter got in on the action. Young people, old people, men, women, all showing love for Jackson.
"You can tell there are so many good people in this world and you forget sometimes until something happens, when you have to rally around, and we're so blessed," Aaron Sparks said.
April 14, 2022, Tucker Sparks threw out the first pitch before the Brewers game with his dad catching and mom right there too. Little brother, Jackson, looking down from above, and thousands cheering from the stands and around the nation.
"Afterwards, walking off the field, just the emotion in that stadium, it was pretty powerful," said Sheri Sparks, Jackson's mom.
"It was mainly seeing the emotion on other people's faces. It just brings you down to the reality of the moment and it was very emotional," said Aaron Sparks.
Emotional and a healing moment for the family thanks to the love and support of the community.
"This is one of the big reasons we decided to move forward with the foundation, it's a way to pay that forward to the community and to others that are in need," Aaron Sparks said.
The Jackson Sparks Foundation was created to give back to the community that did so much for them and to make sure that Jackson is never forgotten.
"That's your worst fear, is that your child will be forgotten," said Sheri Sparks.
"It's every parent's fear. Will Jackson be remembered and how will he be remembered? We hope this foundation is a beacon of hope," said Aaron Sparks.
It's kind of like Make-A-Wish, but specifically for baseball dreams.
"Three criteria -- if you lost a loved one, like Tucker; a critical illness, or a critical injury. That would meet the criteria for us to grant a baseball dream for a child," said Aaron Sparks.
And they hope to make it as big as possible.
"We're hoping we can help a lot of people...I think that's a big part of what we want in the future is to see where this goes. And what a perfect way to honor Jackson than to help people."
Their next big event and fundraiser is Friday, July 8. The foundation is hosting a home run derby and skills competition to kick off the Waukesha Blazers memorial baseball tournament at Sunset Park.
"I always thought these events were cool before the tournament -- to get your warmed up, hit some dingers, run the bases, maybe bring home some hardware, and they start the tournament the next day," Aaron Sparks said.
A baseball tournament to honor Jackson with the help of Jackson's foundation sounds pretty perfect.
"He was an amazing little kid and his life was just starting....his dreams were cut short, but maybe we can help some other kids and they can realize those dreams."
If you have baseball dreams, check out jacksonsparksfoundation.org.
And if you want to get in on Friday's home run derby and baseball events, there are still spots open.