ATLANTA -- Children and parents across Cobb County are rallying to support Jackson Lietch, a 14-year-old boy who collapsed in class at McCleskey Middle School on Monday.
They now know what happened to him.
He suffered a stroke.
Jackson's parents told 11Alive's Jon Shirek Wednesday night that he has has always been healthy, active, athletic.
But Monday, when he was in his personal fitness class, working out with other students, Jackson's teacher noticed him sitting down and leaning back against the wall.
"She looked at him and he smiled at her," said Jackson's mother, Robin Lietch.
And moments later, "When she looked over at him again, the children were starting to gather around him, and he had slumped over."
Robin and Robert Leitch would soon find out that Jackson had suffered a stroke in class -- doctors found two blood clots in his brain.
Wednesday night Jackson was at Children's Health Care of Atlanta at Egleston -- conscious, partially paralyzed, and preparing to move to CHOA at Scottish Rite on Thursday, where he would begin a rigorous program of rehabilitation.
"He is very aware of what has happened to him," Robin said.
"It's affected his speech and his right-hand side," Robert said. "He has very little use of the right-hand side of his body at this point."
"He can talk" with some difficulty, Robin said, "and he's feeding himself with his left hand. And playing PlayStation with his left hand," she added with a smile.
Robin and Robert have since learned that blood clots can form and cause strokes at any age.
Jackson has the strength of youth and health on his side.
"He's an athletic kid, plays football and lacrosse," Robert said. "He plays guitar very well, he wants to go to Georgia Tech to be an engineer."
And the immediate outpouring of support from the McCleskey Middle School community and beyond, they said, has been amazing, comforting, and they are grateful.
They have just found out that "all the schools are being organized to do fund drives for Jackson," Robert said, and Robin added that people are telling them they want "to help with the medical bills, because it's going to be a long, extensive rehabilitation process."
"It's unbelieveable," Robert said of the community support. "And we can't thank the teachers and the administrators [at McCleskey Middle School] enough," Robert said, certain that their quick action tending to Robert while the EMS crew was on its way saved his life, and minimized the damage to his brain.
"We feel as blessed as we could possibly be," he said, praising CHOA's doctors and nurses. "I have never seen such a great group of people.... But it's going to be a long, hard road for him. It's going to be a lot of of work."