"It's been amazing to see him enjoy life again. It's truly a blessing," his mother said.
Jackson Ward, a little boy from Texas is back home after a grueling 453-day stay at the Texas Children's Hospital and a heart transplant that saved his life. Jackson was discharged on December 20 with the hospital staff cheering on him as he walked down the hallway. According to PEOPLE, the 8-year-old is back at his family ranch.
He has reunited with his beloved cow according to a post by his family on Facebook. They shared an image of him petting his favorite calf named Ocho. This calf was born on Jackson's 8th birthday and he absolutely adores playing with the calf. "Jackson wishes he could have spent more time with Ocho but due to being in the hospital so long Ocho wasn't socialized much so he isn't as much of a people person as his mom (Itsy) is," states the post. "It's been amazing to see him enjoy life again. It's truly a blessing," his mother Leah told the outlet.
On October 11, Jackson was in a critical state and had a blood infection and his chest was split open following a long-awaited heart transplant.
"I felt that Jackson wouldn't be able to come back from it. I was broken the whole day," Leah said. Jackson has hypoplastic left heart syndrome and was born with a non-functioning left side of his heart. Leah and her husband Jason faced another tragedy when their first child Marshall was killed in a car accident at 20 months old in April 2013. The couple was determined to save Jackson.
In September 2021, while attending the first weeks of his school in person, Jackson caught a rhinovirus, which causes the common cold but further tests by the doctors revealed that the virus has also caused myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle and can lead to severe heart failure. Jackson was immediately hospitalized and the doctor delivered even more shocking news to the parents that their son needs a heart transplant. Jackson had to survive with an artificial pump called the Berlin Heart until a donor's heart became available.
Jackson had to further battle with depression from being stuck in the hospital for a long time, a liver failure as well as surviving on steroids which caused his face to become puffy. He finally received his life-saving transplant on October 1. "Jackson's condition was very, very critical. But I told her he was moving in the right direction, slowly,” Dr. Iki Adachi, one of Jackson's transplant surgeons, had told Leah.
Jackson goes to physical therapy twice a week at the hospital. He is also returning to normal life. He plays with his 6-year-old sister Mae every day, helps his mom do chores on the ranch and he also enjoys fishing. Leah has been documenting her son’s journey on a Facebook page. "These kids are so busy that by the end of the day, I'm exhausted and I enjoy their giggles and silliness. Jackson goes all day long," she wrote. While Leah is trying to not be on high alert all day long, she feels forever indebted to the donor who gave her son back his life and would wish to know who the person is.
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Jackson's Journey with HLHS now POST-Heart Transplant