January 2, 1999 - by
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Being Teammates is Only One Common Thread


Seminoles defenders share bond over mothers’ need for kidney transplants.

January 1, 1999

By BILL KACZOR

Associated Press Writer

Full Fiesta Bowl Coverage

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) – On Thanksgiving Day, Florida State safety Dexter
Jackson’s mother received a long-awaited kidney transplant.

Now, Jackson and linebacker Lamont Green hope Green’s mother is next.

Their shared wait over the past four years created a special bond between
the two seniors that Jackson said is an extension of the close relationship
among the entire defensive team.

“We show each other we’re here for one another,” Jackson said Friday. “If
you’re here for one another off the field, how do you think you’ll play on the
field when everybody’s together?”

Their performance on the field Monday in the Fiesta Bowl against
top-ranked
Tennessee (12-0) could mean a national championship for No. 2 Florida State
(11-1).

Jackson’s mother, Lula Lee of Quincy, Fla., had been waiting five
years for
a new kidney. The surgery was performed less than a week after the Seminoles
ended their regular season by defeating Florida.

“It takes a lot off my mind,” Jackson said. “When I was playing last year
and again this season I was thinking in the back of my mind, How is my mom
doing? Is she going to be OK?’

“But now that she has the transplant and she’s doing well, I can take
that
extra drain off my mind and focus on my game plan.”

She had gone to Shands Medical Center in Gainesville in 1997 only to find
the donor kidney was not a proper match. Another attempt was called off
because
she had the flu and the risk of infection would have been too great.

Jackson picked her up from the hospital Dec. 5, the same day Florida
State
was thrust into the Bowl Championship Series title game by the upset losses of
UCLA and Kansas State.

“My mom received the transplant, these two teams lose and we’re going to
play for the championship,” Jackson said. “Destiny has prevailed.”

Lee said in a telephone interview that she was doing fine and along with
other family members will be watching her son play on television.

“It means a lot to me,” she said. “I’m proud of him because he had to
work so hard to get there.”

Emma Green will be watching from her home in Miami. She received a
transplant in 1994 but it did not take and the kidney had to be removed. Green
said his mother is due to get another transplant this year.

“It was a distraction at first,” Green said. “Now, I’ve learned to deal
with it. We learned to laugh and joke about a lot more things and don’t take
them so serious because it’s a situation that’s out of our control.”

Green called his mother his “backbone.”

“She supports me so much in everything that I try to do,” he said. “She
wants for us to bring home this national championship and that’s what I
want to
do for her.”

Green and Jackson often talk about their mothers.

“Sometime’s he’ll call and say, Dex, my mom’s not doing so well.”
Jackson said. “It’s a brother-to-brother thing. I try to make him feel
comfortable and at home whenever he needs me. He does the same thing.”

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