Almost three years ago, Jesse and Nick adopted one-year-old Brooklyn from China knowing she needed a liver transplant and was in critical condition. When they arrived home to Memphis, they learned that their insurance would not cover the transplant here. From the programs that would be covered they chose Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago and took their place on the list of those waiting for a liver. They waited for a year during which their failing-to-thrive child could not balance due to a belly that was so swollen that it also crowded out her lung space and prevented her from talking in anything but a whisper.
In February of last year, they finally received a call that a perfect-match liver was available in Chicago but there was a blizzard coming that was causing flights to be canceled and airports to close. After trying to no avail to find or charter a flight to Chicago, the couple learned that sometimes St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital called on FedEx for transportation in emergencies. They phoned the contact at FedEx and left her a message. It turned out her phone had gone to voicemail because she happened to be on a corporate plane with company chairman and CEO Fred Smith. When the plane landed, she returned the message and told the couple that if they could be at the airport in 30 minutes, the pilots would turn around and take them to Chicago.
Brooklyn’s surgery was a success, and she is now an active, healthy, joyful three-year-old. Jesse shares that Brooklyn’s story of resurrection, of a dying person come back to life, has taught her to see value and purpose in everyone and that we are all meant to live fully.
Jesse, Nick, Brooklyn and her older sister Rhet, adopted from Ethiopia, are doing just that. Living fully as family because of hearts that were opened wide and filled until they overflowed with love that embraces everyone. We are thankful for their example and that our community has embraced and supported this special family.