It started with just a simple feeling of being "off". A minor cold and a mild case of strep that turned into something much more serious in such a short time it was hard for her family and doctors to process. Just a few short days after what should have been a relaxing family Christmas, and after 2 weeks of not being able to shake the worn out sick feeling, Jessica was feeling so bad she was taken by her parents to the hospital where she was examined by doctors who quickly determined that she needed more help than they were able to offer. Thus began, with an emergency ambulance ride to the Children's Hospital in Chapel Hill an unrelenting plight that has taken a toll emotionally, physically and financially on this amazing family and it is heartbreaking to watch.
Shortly after arriving at the Children’s Hospital Jessica was diagnosed with the rare and incurable Evans Syndrome. This very rare autoimmune disorder causes Jessica’s immune system to destroy her red and white blood cells and platelets. Basically Jessica’s own body is attacking her and because it is so rare there is no standard course of treatment and no cure. After a week in the hospital, multiple blood transfusions, medications, steroids, and infusions of platelets, Jessica was able to return home but was in no means able to return to her active lifestyle before she got sick.
Since December there have been multiple setbacks including treatment induced meningitis, weeks at home suffering from migraines in darkness, crying in pain from swelling and pressure build up on her brain, high persistent fevers, server muscle and back pain at times making it impossible to sleep, eat and even walk, and vomiting all from the side effects of the medications meant to help her. There have also been weekly trips back to Chapel Hill for treatment and follow ups which have included more transfusions, infusions, IV’s and so many medications is hard to keep track. In addition to multiple daily medications and steroids, Jessica is currently on a treatment plan of weekly platelet infusions with the hopes that her body will begin to heal itself and she will once again be able to enjoy life like any other teenager. If not, Jessica is looking at a more drastic chemo treatment, something both her family and doctors are trying to avoid.
Through it all this amazing family including her mom Angie, a Kindergarten Teacher Assistant, her dad Chris, a Pastor for a local Church, and her big brother Joshua, have remained strong in their love for each other and their faith that God is looking out for their little girl. But, with the continued medical expenses piling up, her parents missing work for her treatments, and the cost of constant travel this precious family is in need of our support. Please give back to this wonderful family who has done so much to help our community over the years. Any amount is appreciated!