9th December 2017

Showcase Saturdays

Greg Johnston

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Showcase Saturday – Episode #5

This weeks story is written by the wonderful Laura Gray, telling us all about her amazing daughter Jessica. Thank you so much to Laura for sharing her story, and the photos – which as you will see in the gallery at the bottom of the page are brilliant and certainly show Jessica’s cheeky sense of humour! Over to Laura:

Jessica was born on 10th July 2008. Due to complications during my labour Jessica was born with severe brain damage. She spent the first few weeks of her life in the special care baby unit at the RVI having seizures and many other problems . When she was three weeks old she had an MRI scan which confirmed the news that Jessica would be severely disabled for the rest of her life; unable to walk , talk or lead any kind of normal life. Doctors also told us it would be very unlikely she would live a long life and to go home and make the most of her.

We were devastated, our whole world had been turned upside down.

We spent the next few years coming to terms with having a child with such complex needs. Jessica had to have many surgeries and had to have a feeding tube inserted directly into her stomach as she was unable to safely swallow. She also seizures terribly and they are very hard to control. We are never far from a crisis when it comes to Jessica but we learnt as a family how to cope.

Jessica’s first admission to PICU happened in 2014 age 6 when she contacted the RSV virus which then lead to pneumonia and septic shock. She was very poorly and spent 10 days on a ventilator. It was a very scary time and we thought we were going to lose her, but Jessica’s fighting spirit saw her through and she recovered well.

It wasn’t the end though and Jessica’s has since spent a further 3 admissions to PICU age 6, 8 and 9 all relating to her chest and seizures.

Jessica now suffers from significant chronic lung disease because of all the scarring the numerous bouts of pneumonia has left on her lungs which means Jessica’s chest is more at risk and winter can be a bad time for her. She cannot spend long periods of time outdoors and needs to be kept warm at all times or she will get very poorly again.

Despite all Jessica’s deals with, she is such a happy little girl with a beautiful smile and a very cheeky sense of humour. She likes to giggle at children who are misbehaving and causing mischief!

During her 2 stays in PICU in 2017 we discovered Team Evie. They provided us with a bag of essentials like toothbrush, toothpaste, hair bobble, hair brush, soap and much more, which you would never think to grab on your way out of the door as your child is being rushed away in an ambulance. The work they do to help parents like myself is invaluable and I can’t thank them enough.

If you would like to help us to keep helping children and their families like Jessica’s you can by donating now!