The man behind “Yammy Bear” diagnosed with rare disease

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 10:57 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Charles “CJ” Jackson is the man behind the locally known, Yammy Bear character.

Yammy Bear is often seen at community events, kids’ parties, or visiting patients who are undergoing medical treatments.

He dances and gives hugs while putting smiles on people’s faces.

“I was asking God how can I be more effective in the community that would be able to touch the children’s lives,” Jackson said.

In July, Jackson traveled to Uvalde, Texas to honor those who died in the school shooting.

He met with community members and gave stuffed animals to survivors and also placed stuffed animals at the memorial site for the shooting victims.

“Yeah, it was magical. It was emotional being there,” Jackson said.

He took the trip, despite finding out a week before, that he had kidney damage that caused swelling in his legs and feet.

“We found out that he has a very rare kidney disorder. It’s not just kidney. It’s a protein disorder, called Al Amyloidosis,” said CarolAnne Jackson, Jackson’s wife.

Around 4,000 people a year develop this disease each year in the United States. writes that it is not cancer itself but may be associated with blood cancers.

Luckily for Jackson, it was caught early. So far, he has gone through 4 rounds of chemotherapy so far.

“The scars on my stomach, the rashes and taking the medications and being nauseated,” Jackson said

But even while going through chemo, he’s still concerned about the people who need their favorite fluffy bear.

“How am I going to be able to isolate myself from what I’ve been doing?” he said. “The love, the joy that they received from Yammy Bear it just comes back.”

Earlier this year, Yammy Bear attended the Eagle’s Cancer Telethon which raised nearly a million dollars for cancer research.

Jackson never imagined he’d be going through a similar issue as the cancer patients he’d help support.

“I never know that the things that I play a part in that will come back to me so that I can have a more understanding of it,” he said.

Around October, Jackson will have to isolate himself to get healthier. He is working on a way to bring Yammy Bear to people virtually during that time.

On Aug. 13. 1st Annual Young Timers BBQ Picnic on Aug.13th. That event is at 4 p.m. at South Park in Spring Valley.

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