The Echoes

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A Walking Miracle

Junior Jack Hallowell has beaten the odds after a tough start in life

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It would be safe to say junior Jack Hallowell is a walking miracle.

Born a month and a half early at 4 lbs. 8 oz. with two extra thumbs, two extra vertebrae, and two extra ribs, the doctors told Charity and Jesse Hallowell their son, Jack, would be in wheelchair by age 5 and always have to be in special education classes.

Seventeen years later, Hallowell has never been in a wheelchair, never been put in a special education class and is doing great in school.

Jack was born with both VATER Syndrome and Holt-Oram Syndrome. VATER syndrome caused his extra vertebrae and ribs and an extra thumb on both hands; while the Holt-Oram syndrome caused his ulna and radius, the bones in the forearm, to be fused together.

After his birth, Hallowell had to stay on a heart monitor for three months in the hospital and then another four months outside of the hospital.

He also had to go to physical therapy for the first four years of his life and had to have his extra thumbs removed.

Because the surgeries were performed when Hallowell was so young, he does not remember the experience.

While Jack had to go through a lot of challenges early in his life, things became even much more difficult when he started school.

“Bullying was a big challenge.   I remember back in elementary and middle school I was bullied a lot. In elementary I was pushed down a lot but it became more verbal in middle school to the point I didn’t want to go to school at all,” Hallowell said.

Jack’s mother, Charity, faced a number of issues with the pregnancy.

For starters, the pregnancy wasn’t planned.

In order to prevent a pregnancy, Charity decided to get the depo provera birth control injection that would supposedly last for three months.

Charity explained in order to get the depo provera injection, potential users were required to take a pregnancy test that had to come back negative, which did in her case.

In May, however, everything went wrong.  Charity started to hemorrhage heavily.

Her brother called the ambulance and she was taken to the hospital. Her sister-in-law told her she thought she might be having a miscarriage even though she shouldn’t have been pregnant.

“I thought to myself, ‘No, please God, help me I wanted this baby so bad, please don’t let me lose this baby’,” Charity said.

Once at the hospital an ultrasound revealed she was three months pregnant but she might be having a miscarriage.

Hospital officials told her they might have to perform a Dilation and Curettage, a procedure to remove the uterine lining after an abortion or miscarriage.

The procedure, however, would have a high chance of not allowing her to get pregnant in the future.

The next morning Charity woke up and everything was fine; she wasn’t in pain or bleeding heavily but she thought she had lost the baby.

The doctors told her that she actually hadn’t had a miscarriage and that the baby had a strong heartbeat and everything sounded great.

“I was so happy I started crying,” Charity said.

Jack is now currently doing great even though there are certain things he can’t do.

“I can’t do wrestling, football, or anything that involves contact because one wrong move and I could be paralyzed. Technically I’m also not allowed to lift, but that hasn’t stopped me,” Hallowell  said.

While he does have restrictions, he tries not to let anything stop him from doing what he wants after everything he has been through and the things he has overcome in life.

He has since his elementary and middle school days made good friends.

“Since I’ve started lifting and getting bigger, I’ve made some good friends and it’s helped me boost my confidence,” Hallowell said.

He’s also involved in DECA, marketing, is a photographer for both the yearbook and the newspaper, and has a part-time job.

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A Walking Miracle