Event set to benefit Jaclyn Tolbert
A local infant that has fought valiantly to stay alive during her 10 months on Earth is now looking for some help from area residents to help cover the costs of her fight.
Jaclyn Nicole Tolbert has had at least four surgeries – including one on Tuesday to repair a club foot – and she's fought gallantly through all of the procedures, including open heart surgery when she was six months old.
A benefit for her parents, Brad and Michelle Tolbert, will be held Saturday starting at 11:30 a.m. at Coleman's Farm, also known as the Po' Folks Hunting Club. Catfish and chicken plates will be sold for $5 each, and an auction will be held, along with a small car show.
The fact that Jaclyn's parents are holding a benefit for their daughter is a miracle in itself.
Jaclyn was born two months premature, weighing 3 pounds, 15 ounches and measuring 17-1/2 inches long, on June 11, 2002 at Thomas Hospital in Fairhope.
Once doctors got her breathing, she was transported to USA Women's and Children's Hospital in Mobile. The family was told by doctors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that babies like Jaclyn normally don't survive.
The family, instead, turned to their faith, and prayer chains were started in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Texas and other states. The faith and prayers paid off, as Jaclyn was eventually allowed to come home.
In July 2002, doctors said the infant possibly suffered from Noonan's Syndrome. In August of that year, she had a feeding tube placed in her stomach and had her esophagus wrapped, as she was born with acid and gag reflux.
In November of last year, she had a shunt placed in her head, as she had two bleeds in her brain at birth, which caused fluid on the brain. The next month, she went to Tulane Hospital in New Orleans for a heart catherterization, and the results showed she needed surgery.
Since she was born with a hole in her heart and her pulmonary valve had to be enlarged, she underwent open heart surgery in January of this year. On Tuesday, she underwent her latest surgery, this time on her left leg and foot, as she was born with a club foot and all other medical procedures had failed.
Jaclyn also has eyeglasses and has to wear a patch on her right eye for three hours three days a week because her eyes do not focus.
With procedures that might put another person down for an extended time, Jaclyn has come through it all with flying colors.
She is now nearly 10 months old, weighs 11 pounds, 6 ounces and is 24 inches long. She's spent a total of three months of her life in the hospital, and her parents and two older brothers, Jason and Jordan, spend as much time with her as they can when she is hospitalized.
The prayer chains are still in progress and probably will remain in place. Along with the prayers, there has been a benefit singing, and friends of the family have now organized Saturday's benefit.
To reach Coleman's Farm from Atmore, take Highway 31 to Perdido, then turn right at Mr. Greenjeans, cross the railroad tracks and veer left. Turn right on Johnson Road, come to the stop sign and take a right. Coleman Farm is on the left side of the road.
For more information on the event, or to donate items for the auction or the fish dinner, call 446-1884.