Giving Back: Devon (2lb/4oz) making strides, blood drive fuels recovery

Published 12:15 am Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ladeja Louper was all smiles this week.

All anyone had to do was ask the young mother how her little son Devon Jackson Jr. was doing.

“He is doing great,” she replied, with a broad smile.

Barely six weeks old, little Devon is doing great, even though he remains in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Ochsner Baptist Hospital in New Orleans.

Firefighter Daniel Perret, left, helped organize a blood drive for Devon Jackson Jr., son of fellow firefighter and friend Devon Jackson Sr. A March of Dimes walk is also planned.

The young fellow, the son of Louper and Devon Jackson Sr. of Edgard, was born Feb. 7, nearly three months premature, weighing only one pound and severely anemic due to a lack of blood flow through his umbilical cord.

Little Devon remains on a ventilator, but Louper said he no longer is receiving steroids to spur his lung development and he has gained weight.

“He finally reached two pounds,” Louper said. “He’s now at 2 pounds, 4 ounces. He’s still on a ventilator, but recently got off the steroids. His lungs are a little more developed.

“In the next couple of weeks he should be off the ventilator.”

Ladeja Louper and Devon Jackson Sr. were all smiles during a blood drive for their son this week.

The tiny tot already has had several blood transfusions and likely will need several more as he gains strength.

It is a hard fight for the young couple and their baby, but they have an entire community backing them.

Jackson, a St. John the Baptist Parish firefighter, has a whole department behind him.

More than 50 people, including firefighters, Sheriff’s deputies, friends, family and ordinary citizens, turned out with their arms at the ready for a blood drive held Monday at the Hemlock Fire Station.

Over several hours Monday afternoon the Ochsner Bloodmobile collected 51 units of blood for little Devon.
That had dad smiling as he welcomed and thanked donors throughout the day.

“The turnout was great,” he said. “It’s exciting to know that so many people came out to support us. It means a lot.”

It was fellow firefighter Daniel Perret who put together the blood drive for his friend and co-worker.

“I just felt like it needed to be done,” said Perret, whose wife is expecting the couple’s third child. “We all do a lot for our community and his little boy needed help. That’s just what we do.”

St. John Fire Chief Cain Dufrene said he was grateful for the outpouring from the community and to all who donated.

“Each day our firefighters risk their lives to protect others and it is a great thing to see the outpouring of support for one of our own,” Dufrene said. “I encourage everyone to give the lifesaving gift of blood whenever they can.”

Jackson said he and Louper also are putting together a team to walk in the annual March of Dimes March for Babies to be held April 29 at City Park in New Orleans. The organization helps raise funds for research into preventing premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality.

Premature birth is the No. 1 cause of death for babies in the U.S.

Visit for more information or to make a donation to The March of Dimes.