News

Jessica Fletcher, A VFCC Medical Marvel

by Valley Forge Christian College | May 01, 2012
When she was born on January 29, 1983 in Orville, Ohio, Jessica Fletcher looked like a healthy baby girl. By the next day, however, doctors noticed that something was seriously wrong. Jessica's oxygen levels dropped so drastically that she had started to turn blue, and through a series of tests, it was determined that she had an extremely rare heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.
Jessica Fletcher, a VFCC Medical MarvelWhen she was born on January 29, 1983 in Orville, Ohio, Jessica Fletcher looked like a healthy baby girl. By the next day, however, doctors noticed that something was seriously wrong. Jessica's oxygen levels dropped so drastically that she had started to turn blue, and through a series of tests, it was determined that she had an extremely rare heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. She would die within hours unless a highly experimental procedure was performed, from which no babies had yet survived. Friends and family began to pray, and Jessica miraculously lived through her first of four open-heart surgeries. 

Growing up, Jessica barely knew that she had a disability because her parents treated her just like her younger brother and sister. She even fought having to put a handicapped sticker on her car, even though it was necessary for a period of time. No one expected that Jessica would even attend college, but when she visited her brother and sister on the Valley Forge Christian College campus and "felt an overwhelming sense of God's peace and presence," she just knew that it was where she was supposed to be. With the comfort of knowing that her siblings were close, and with her doctor's strict orders to call if she needed anything, Jessica arrived on campus in August 2007. 

A series of seizures when she was a baby had left her with a slight learning challenge. She has a difficult time grasping concrete concepts like simple math facts, and she learns best hands-on, which has proven difficult in a typical college setting. She is extremely grateful to her kind and patient professors who have not treated her any differently from other students, but who have also been available to help her whenever needed. 

Jessica, now 28 years old, is the first person in the United States to survive Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, and is currently the oldest living adult with this condition. Jessica will graduate in December 2011 with a degree in Children's Ministry, and already has an interview this month for a children's pastor position back home in Ohio. She looks forward to seeing what God will do through her life. And she is certainly achieving her goal: to live every day to the fullest.