JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- To the crowd, the concert was perfect.
For Jason Jackson, it was better than that.
"It felt amazing watching all the people paying attention to me, having people supporting me," said the 11 year old.
Up on stage for the first time, Jason didn't flinch.
"Everything is not easy in your life, you have to meet challenges, and then keep pushing yourself until you get it right," he said.
Jason has always had to push a little harder than the other kids.
While the concert was a dream come true, his past is the stuff of nightmares.
When he was just two year's old, his mother's boyfriend killed her and shot Jason in the head before killing himself.
Jason barely survived.
His grandfather took him in.
"Nobody gave me a whole lot of encouragement, even the nurses said, don't expect too much," said his grandfather, Duncan Jackson.
The gunshot left scars on his head, and the promise of lifelong disability.
"He'll never be normal, that's what they said. And I said, he'll be just as normal as me and you," he said.
Normal is tough for any kid, but with lasting injuries from the gunshot and weakness on his right side, Jason has to try a whole lot harder to fit in.
"I want to be like other people. I don't really want to be like them, but I want people to stop talking about me," said Jason.
Talking about his past, his disability, the challenge that he can't...
"Because I can do anything"
And with a little bit of help, he can.
Seeing Jason struggle with the violin, an anonymous donor stepped in with a brace to make up for the weakness on his right side.
It attaches to Jason's wrist and the bow, and allows him to just play.
"It's awesome, I don't drop it, I can take my time playing the violin. And I can control it by not using my fingers," he said.
The instructors at Jump Start Strings, a program where disadvantaged kids can learn how to play, have seen huge improvements since he got the brace.
"The human spirit, who are we to say he can't? Whatever he's struggling through, the human spirit can overcome a lot," said Peggy Tousant, the Director of Jump Start Strings.
Tousant runs the program, and says she's never been prouder than when Jason stepped on stage.
" If he can continue, and if he can perfect the bowstroke, I just don;t think there's a limit to what he can do," she said.
Now his dream is getting in to LaVilla, the school of the arts in Jacksonville.
"When he went to do his audition at LaVilla, he was just as nervous as could be because he wasn't around people that he knew, and I just said, do your best and we'll go from there,"
said his Grandfather.
For now, he's on the wait-list.
But after the life he's lead, Jason's not letting a little wait list hold him back.
"When I have to struggle, and I have challenges I have to face, but I always get it," he said.
And now the organization is getting a little help as well.
The Weaver Foundation just donated $750,000 to the Music Education Series, and Jump Start Strings is one of the programs that will be included.
First Coast News