Sunday, April 18, 2010

Last Years' Grand Prize Winner-Courtney Bishop Jackson

With the 2nd Annual U.S. Military Family Contest opening up for entries, I thought it would be a nice idea to revisit our Grand Prize Winner from last year. During the contest last summer, Courtney and I became friends on Facebook. Actually, several of the gals that entered are now friends of FB. It's been really neat to follow Courtney and her family. She' an incredible woman who is fiercely devoted to her son and her husband. So for those of you who didn't read her's an opportunity for you to see for yourself what a cool lady she is.
Grand Prize Winner 2009--Courtney Bishop Jackson

My husband is Active Duty Air Force. He has been in since April 2007. The picture is from the his Boot-camp graduation. We have been stationed at Goodfellow AFB, TX and now are at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. We had our first child together in March 2008. After an uneventful pregnancy, our son Malynki was born not breathing. It took the doctors/nurses 25-30 minutes to resuscitate him. He now suffers brain damage because of the length of time he went without oxygen. They weren’t sure he would live past a week and told us to be prepared for the worst. (I've attached another picture of him shortly after delivery to show how bad things were.)

This was the hardest thing that my husband or I have ever been though. I didn’t want to live, I didn’t want to speak to anyone. All I wanted to do was be with my baby. I'm crying even typing this because it brings back such sad memories. I just kept thinking the whole time Malynki was in the NICU "Please God, Don't take away my heart and soul." Its amazing to see how much strength my husband had during this hard time to keep our family strong for our lil' man. I'm grateful to have my husband, Larry. Because without him I’m not sure I would have been able to make it with everything that happened to our son.

When our son was 3 weeks old, he had surgery for a G-tube. Its a tube in his stomach that we feed him directly through. They also repaired a hernia and completed a fundoplication. We were told his future wouldn’t be so bright. We didn't care what they told us we were just happy that he had made it past the length of time they gave us in the beginning. The doctors believed he would probably never learn to eat by mouth, talk, walk or really do anything normal babies do. This was the hardest thing to hear because as parents all you ever want for your child is for them to be the best at everything they want to/can do. We didn’t want him to be different but that was the hand we were dealt. So we took it in stride.

We applied for EFMP Program that the military offers for dependant family members with special needs. This program helped us get relocated to Ohio (where we are originally from) because Goodfellow AFB did not have the services in the town that we needed. Twice a week we were driving 3 hours to San Antonio for Medical services for our son. Once we got relocated to Wright Patt AFB. My son's future began to look brighter. He attends Physical, Occupation, Speech and Feeding therapy each once a week.

I am unable to be employed because of all his needs. My husband is our sole provider and we are so appreciative for the military and all there benefits. My son has shown me what strength is at only a year old. He surpassed all the expectations the doctors gave us. He is now 16 months old, is able to eat puree baby foods, drink juices and is working on learning to chew, he still has his g-tube for nutritional purposes. He is rolling and army crawling. He is learning to bear weight on his legs and talks up a storm. He is unable to sit unassisted or walk yet but that has not stopped him from trying to become the best that he can be. He will forever have development delays due to his brain damage. We recently received the diagnosis of cerebral palsy. It was hard to swallow knowing that he is forever going to have that. But I know one thing for sure, he will never let a diagnosis slow him down.

The military has been so beneficial in my son’s health care. We have 8-10 doctors that we see regularly, $10,000 in medical equipment and numerous prescriptions and medical supplies; we haven’t had to pay anything. We would be lost without the military and for that my husband and I are forever thankful. (I've attached another picture of him recently) He never stops amazing us. Although my husband hasn’t been deployed yet, he has volunteered numerous times and really wants to go overseas and protect his country.

Thank you for listening to our story,
Courtney Jackson
You can see the other 2009 winners and Semi-Finalists in the archives of this blog. For more information on how to enter this years' contest please visit my website and click the "Contest" tab.

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