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‘Momma, they got me a heart’
The Oak Ridger ^ | 11/14/2007 | Beverly Majors

Posted on 11/14/2007 7:56:18 PM PST by Tennessee_Bob

“Momma, they got me a heart.”

Those are the words Jessica Hensley heard Monday when her phone rang at 1 a.m. in her Kingston home.

Jessica’s 12-year-old daughter, Jordon Hensley, called from Vanderbilt University Medical Center with the news that her cardiologist needed her to get ready for a heart transplant.

“Jordon called me before the doctor did,” Jessica said Tuesday in a phone call to The Oak Ridger.

“She told me, ‘The doctor’s about to call you. I am so excited.’”

Jessica said, “We are so thankful to the Paine family. I have not got an official word (about the donor), but I know it was Ashley.

“I feel horrible for their loss,” said the Kingston mother. “Words cannot express how thankful we are.

“It’s important that they know.”

And Laurie Paine feels the same.

“I believe that with all my heart,” Laurie said of the donation. “It’s knowing that Ashley would have chosen a 12-year-old.

“I feel better knowing Ashley is still touching lives.

“We are all really happy that Ashley could do something for their daughter.”

Ashley Paine, also 12, died on Sunday after crashing her bicycle and being run over by a school bus Friday on her way home from Robertsville Middle School.

On Monday, her parents, Donnie and Laurie Paine, walked beside her as she was wheeled to an operating room at the University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville, where doctors removed her organs for donation.

The same day, at 12:30 p.m. (Central Time), Jordon was taken to an operating room at Vanderbilt to have a heart transplant.

Jessica said she and Jordon’s father, Phil, and their other children, Emily, 8, and Grayson, 10 months, had by that time packed up and gone to Nashville.

Jordon’s two half-brothers, Phillip Jr. and Eric Hensley, both adults with children of their own, also live in Kingston and didn’t make the trip.

“I stayed up all night,” Jessica said of her ordeal after her daughter’s early morning call.

“I couldn’t sleep, I did laundry and packed.”

The Hensley family has made the trip to Vanderbilt many times before. Jordon has been in the intensive care unit at Vanderbilt since Oct. 26.

“At 6 p.m. Monday her doctor had nothing but good news,” Jessica said. “Everything went great.

“She is on minimal medication. At 5:30 this morning (Tuesday), she called the hotel where I was and already had the breathing tube out.”

“‘Momma, I feel so good,’” Jordon told her mother. “I am so happy.”

Jessica choked back tears Tuesday as she talked about her daughter’s call.

“My daughter has never known what it felt like to feel good. Her feet are warm for the first time in her life … her legs feel toasty warm.”

Jessica said Jordon is “doing excellent” and the family hopes she will be home for Christmas.

Once she is out of intensive care, she and her family will stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Nashville.

“I read The Oak Ridger online about Ashley, and about how she did not know a stranger,” Jessica said. “Well that is Jordon, too.

“She would talk to a wall. … I sat and blubbered and blubbered while reading about Ashley.”

The two 12-year-olds have other things in common. Ashley played basketball and Jordon wants to play very badly. They both have families of five. Ashley’s brother, David Paine-Steele, goes to school at Cherokee Middle School with Jordon and they are both in the seventh grade — just like Ashley was at Robertsville.

Both girls are outgoing and friendly, and they care about others. Ashley wanted to sing Christian music to help people, and Jordon wants to be a veterinarian and help animals.

But Ashley had the one thing Jordon did not — a healthy heart.

Jordon had not been healthy since her birth on March 13, 1995. She was born with what is called congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries.

Her mother said it is a rare condition that only about one in 10 million people have. It is not hereditary but basically a condition where the heart is backward.

Technically, Jordon has an acyanotic congenital heart defect in which the primary arteries (the aorta and the pulmonary artery) are transposed, with the aorta anterior and to the left of the pulmonary artery; and the morphological left and right ventricles are also transposed.

“I knew about it when I was five months pregnant,” Jessica recalled. “Jordon had her first open heart surgery at age 7, actually she had two. She had another at age 10.

“The last one she had was in April 2006 in Dallas, Texas. It was called a double switch. They were trying to make her heart normal and to prolong the need for a transplant for years.

“She had never been on a transplant list.”

However, in October, when the kids were out of school during fall break, Jessica said Jordon had an appointment with her cardiologist in Knoxville for her three months checkup.

“Her heart function had decreased significantly,” Jessica said. “Her Knoxville doctor called her cardiologist in Georgia.”

The Hensleys had lived in Georgia until a year ago, when they returned to Phil’s hometown of Kingston.

“So we went to Atlanta,” Jessica said. “Jordon had a heart cath. That was on Oct. 15.

“The cardiologist said her heart was in such poor condition that she needed an immediate transplant but couldn’t do one because her body was in bad shape.”

Jessica said Jordon weighed only 75 pounds and that her heart pressures were too high, so a transplant at that time would have failed. Jordon was placed on medication, and her physicians were to check her again in five days.

“They said not to expect a huge change,” Jessica said. “That was when my daughter started a prayer chain.

“The prayer chain went from Florida to California.”

Several churches in East Tennessee had Jordon on a prayer list including one in Oak Ridge and one in Kingston. A Kingston church member put Ashley and Jordon’s names together and told The Oak Ridger about the coincidence.

On Oct. 19, Jordon had the second heart catheterization and her heart pressure had improved.

“The numbers were 100 times better in just five days,” Jessica said.

At that point Jordon became eligible for the heart transplant list. But the family’s insurance in Georgia declined it and said Jordon had to be at Vanderbilt.

“So on Oct. 26, Jordon was flown from Atlanta to Vanderbilt,” her mother said. “She has been in ICU since that time.”

Then, on Nov. 9, tragedy hit the Paine family. Ashey’s family has her funeral planned for Thursday and she will be buried Friday at Oak Ridge Memorial Park.

“We would love for them (the Hensleys) to come,” Laurie said.

“When I told Jordon I wanted to go to Ashley’s funeral she told me that if I got to go to ‘hug her mommy and daddy for me,’” Jessica said.

“I want very much to put my arms around them.”

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Tennessee
KEYWORDS: gonetoosoon; organdonor
My daughter knew Ashley Paine. Please keep her and her family as well as Jordon and her family in your prayers.
1 posted on 11/14/2007 7:56:21 PM PST by Tennessee_Bob
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To: Tennessee_Bob

Prayers for both families. What a tragedy and what a miracle.

2 posted on 11/14/2007 8:04:57 PM PST by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
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To: Tennessee_Bob

Prayers sent!

3 posted on 11/14/2007 8:53:13 PM PST by stephenjohnbanker (Pray for, and support our troops(heroes) !! And vote out the RINO's!!)
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To: Tennessee_Bob

It’s amazing how God can bring good out of a tragedy. Prayers for both families.

4 posted on 11/14/2007 8:57:11 PM PST by Pinkbell (Duncan Hunter 2008 - Protecting and Restoring America)
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To: Tennessee_Bob

A very moving story.

5 posted on 11/14/2007 9:30:53 PM PST by Hound of the Baskervilles ("Nonsense in the intellect draws evil after it." C.S. Lewis)
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