Cheryl Lynn Jackson: Papers, 1975-1985 | MSS 85.2

Historical Note:

            Cheryl (Cleaves) Jackson was born September 8, 1957, daughter of James Cleaves and Shirley (Buck) Cleaves. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, she moved to Uxbridge in 1971. She graduated from Uxbridge High School in 1975 and then attended Doordt College in Sioux City, Iowa, as well as Framingham State College. In 1979, while a student at FSC, Jackson was diagnosed with spinal cell sarcoma, a rare type of cancer. Despite her illness, she continued with her education, a variety of jobs, and married Bradley Jackson in August 1981.

            While at FSC, Jackson realized her desire to write. During her illness she authored a booklet on services available in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the terminally ill. This began as a term project for one of her writing classes. The booklet was distributed free of charge to all who requested a copy and it ended up going through three printings. In addition to compiling the information needed to complete her booklet, Jackson began advocating for a Bill of Rights specifically for cancer patients. She testified at a State House hearing in 1983 and, that same year, governor Dukakis proclaimed September 8 (Jackson’s birthday) Cheryl Jackson Day in recognition of her efforts to enable cancer victims to receive complete information regarding their treatment process.

            Based on her own experiences, Jackson strongly asserted that cancer patients should receive access to information on cancer treatments other than radiation and chemotherapy. These so-called alternative treatments could consist of unproven methods such as medication, nutritional supplements, and special diets. She also wanted possible adverse effects of all recommended treatments given to patients in printed form, in simple, non-medical language. Jackson was an advocate for House Bill 6252, legislation which pertained to the rights of cancer patients and would provide them with the information they needed about their cancer treatments.

            Jackson was given an honorary degree from Framingham State College in June 1983, but she succumbed to her disease soon after her twenty-sixth birthday in September of the same year.


Scope and Content:

            The Papers of Cheryl Jackson cover the period when she was compiling and writing her booklet called “A guidebook of Services for the Chronically Ill.” The bulk of these materials fall within the year 1983. Samples of Jackson’s writing prior to 1983 are included as well as a few items from after her death.

            This collection contains articles, news clippings, photographs, booklets, lists, memorandum, invoices, correspondence, proclamation, letters of acknowledgement and a ledger book. These records document Jackson’s work preparing her booklet as well as the role Framingham State College played in supporting her efforts and aiding in distributing this booklet.



Amount: 1 box

Container List:

B.1       f.1        Writing samples, 1975-1983 (Includes letters from classmates)

            f.2        “A Guidebook of Services for the Chronically Ill,” 1982 (first printing)

            f.3        “A Guidebook of Services of the Chronically Ill,” (third printing)

            f.4        Printing information, 1983

            f.5        Copyright information, 1983

            f.6        Legislation, 1983 (includes proclamation / Dukakis)

            f.7        Donations for trust fund, 1983

            f.8        Book fund, 1983

            f.9        Booklet of trust donors list, 1983

            f.10      Memorial fund contributions, ledger book, 1983

            f.11      Requests for booklet, 1983

            f.12      Clippings (includes obituary), 1983

            f.13      Press release, booklet / clippings, 1985

            f.14      House Bill No. 6252 regarding the rights of cancer patients, 1985

            f.15      Photographs, ca. 1980s

            f.16      Photographs

            f.17      Slides