(Photo: Fox 2 News)
Brryan Jackson, a 22-year-old college student whose father tried to kill him by injecting him with HIV tainted blood when he was just 11-months-old to avoid paying child support, says he is praying for his father's salvation after a protracted personal battle to forgive him.
"I think that there is salvation for everyone and I find myself sometimes praying for my father's salvation," said Jackson in a recent interview with Fox 2 News.
Jackson, who has been living with full-blown AIDS since he was 5, credits his Christian faith for getting him to the point of forgiveness, but it wasn't an easy journey for him.
In 2009, after receiving a TeenNick HALO Award, he shared how difficult the process of forgiveness was for him and brought a classroom full of teenagers to tears with his words.
"Forgiveness doesn't come easy you know. I knew what my father did to me since I was 5-years-old and I don't want to lower myself to that level he was on. I want to be a better man. I want to be somebody who just walks out of this leaving happy faces," he said in a video of his thank you speech posted on YouTube.
He explained to Fox 2 News that there were times when life got so dark he wanted to commit suicide.
"I was in front of three knives one night, I was like, which one can cut deeper because I just wanted to end it right there. Why me? Why me?" he recalled asking himself.
Helped by good health management and an indomitable spirit, however, Jackson has defied the odds and he is now in college where he is considering a career in church ministry or politics. He has even thought about attending medical school. He also started a nonprofit called Hope Is Vital to inspire others to overcome adversity and promote HIV/AIDS education after suffering scorn and ridicule for his illness while growing up.
His father, who received a life sentence in prison for first-degree assault, could be released in a few years.
The 2013 version of Nickelodeon's TeenNick HALO Award show, which has been recognizing inspiring young people like Jackson since 2009, is also scheduled for November.