EEE victim takes big step in recovery - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

EEE victim takes big step in recovery

April 13, 2004

Valdosta - Last July, 11-year-old Jennifer Tucker was bitten by a mosquito infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis. She suffered a stroke and was close to death. But she's made an amazing recovery and Tuesday, took another step toward a normal life.

It's the day Jeannie Tucker has been praying for. "It's a great feeling, how blessed I am that she's even on this earth," said Tucker.

After almost nine months of long and hard therapy, her daughter Jennifer is finally back in school. "If I had to rate the things in life she loved most it would be school and her chorus," said Tucker.

Her first stop, music class. And ahead, there are lots of daily living skills to learn. "She'll be learning to dress herself, wipe her mouth with a napkin, and make things easier on her mother," said Kristie Turner, Teacher.

Before Jennifer became sick, she was a student across town at Southeast Elementary. But now, because of the special education classes she needs, she'll be enrolled at West Gordon. "Severe and profound classes for her age group are offered here," said Tucker.

She still can't walk or talk and has little comprehension, but this mother she knows her daughter hears her. "She blinks once for yes, twice for no, and it's not just a blank stare, I know Jennifer's in there," said Tucker.

Recovery is long and slow, but Jeannie Tucker is sure that one day, her bright and bubbly daughter will be back.

posted at 4:50 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com

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