Beating the Odds: Remembering Jacoby’s Journey


Petal, Miss.(WJTV) –  Jacoby Bergeron was known as a friend and a fighter against Batten Disease.

The rare, yet deadly neurological disease, took a toll on him physically for many years, but it never took his smile.  

“Jacoby loved people,” his mother said with a huge smile. “The more people the merrier. I believed that’s why he loved school so much because our home life was lonely.” 

With Batten no two days were the same.  Jacoby suffered from seizures and lost his ability to walk and talk. Dixie explained it was very lonely trying to not understand the disease but find other families who were going through the same life change.

Through a recommendation, Dixie was able to find support on Facebook. A page she started for Jacoby turned into a lifeline for the family.

“I could FaceTime another Batten mom who had been through what I was going through or who was going what I was going through… so in that sense it was good.”

The platform gave the family a small, local group of support.

Regina Besson and her family became a part of this circle from a Facebook post about Jacoby wanting a recliner. From there, the two families became inseparable. Besson shared her favorite memory with Jacoby from Summer 2019.

“He stood up and had the biggest smile on his face, and he started to walk across the pool…. and in that moment, everything in my life completely stopped. Nothing mattered to me in that moment, because it was just pure joy in his eye.”

One of Jacoby’s joys was being around police officers. Petal Police Department had been a part of Jacoby’s journey since Shop with a Cop in 2015.

12 News’ Lanaya Lewis spoke with Miranda Williams, public information officer with the department.

 “Dixie would bring him up here to visit sometimes and he would come and see everybody. He actually bonded really well with David Bassett, who was his Shop with the Cop each year. He could see David anytime and he would just light up.”

He would also light up at school.

Because Jacoby last his physical abilities, he was placed in Petal Lower Elementary School.

However, in the classroom he was more abled than ever. Jacoby bonded with every student from elementary to high school and even participated in school activities.

His teacher Karen John taught him for four years.

“I tried to do things so he wouldn’t lose the abilities that he had already previously lost even before I met him,” she explained. “So I always tried to do things to keep him moving and with already the great characteristics that he had.” 

Jacoby passed away January 17, 2020. On Friday, February 14, 12 News’ Lanaya Lewis will have an exclusive interview with Jacoby’s doctor about how he was able to beat the odds. Tune in at 5 pm.

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