She was called “Moorhead’s Miracle Girl.”
Back in 2008, that was more than an appropriate title for then 6-year-old Jakesia Parson, who spent five months in a medically-induced coma after surviving a Moorhead house fire that took the life of her father, Jesse Parson.
Despite doctors’ dire predictions at the time, Jakesia would end up walking out of the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama under her own power, and last Friday night, she walked across the stage at Gentry High School as a high school graduate.
Jakesia, who still lives in Moorhead with her mother, Tisha McCoy, doesn’t remember much about the fire that January 2008 night, but it’s still etched in her mother’s mind after all these years.
“When they pulled her out of the house, I thought that she was deceased, because she was foaming at the mouth,” Tisha told The E-T last week.
Tisha’s brother Lataurus, was the one who got Jakesia out of the house.
According to reports at the time, Jesse Parson did not know she had been pulled out through a window, and he went back into the burning home to rescue her. He did not come out.
“I don’t remember anything,” Jakesia said last week. “I just woke up asking for my daddy.”
A neighbor came over to help and eventually would perform CPR and transport Jakesia to South Sunflower County Hospital.
“He said, ‘We’ve got to do something to keep her from going into shock,’ so we just sung Dora all the way to the hospital, because she loved Dora (the Explorer),” Tisha said.
Tisha credits the staff at SSCH with stabilizing Jakesia so that she could be transported by helicopter to Birmingham.
Over the next few months, Jakesia’s condition did not improve.
She had severe lung damage from the smoke and flames.
Her blood pressure would not stay up, and her liver and kidneys began to fail her.
Doctors and nurses in Alabama began preparing Tisha for the worst.
Never letting go of her faith, Tisha remained optimistic, but things did not begin to turn around until a doctor made a suggestion that did not exactly come from her medical expertise.
“She said, ‘Would you like to have her baptized?’” Tisha recalled.
She jumped at the opportunity.
“The pastor came up there,” she said. “I called all my family and they came, and I had her baptized. It was so funny after that, I stayed there another two days, but I had other children at home, so I came home to check on the other children. I get home and I get a phone call.
It was one of Jakesia’s nurses.
““He said, ‘I’ve got somebody that wants to talk to you,’” she said. “I said, ‘Now, who wants to talk to me?’ He put her on the phone, and she whispered, and she said, ‘Mama.’ I dropped everything. I grabbed my mama and I said, ‘Let’s go. My baby is woke.’
Over the next few weeks, Jakesia’s condition improved to the point that her blood pressure stabilized, her kidney and liver function returned to normal, and she was told she would not need the feeding tube doctors feared she would have to live with after going home.
And when the time came to be discharged from the hospital?
“We walked out of there together,” Tisha said.
Jakesia’s life was forever changed by that January night.
Aside from having to relearn how to walk and talk, she has had to live most of her life without her hero, her father.
“It was hard. The hardest thing I ever had to hear,” she said about getting the news in the hospital that her father had passed. “It’s still kind of tough on me today. In some situations, I need him the most, and he’s not here.”
The fire changed Jakesia in one other major way.
“Ever since fifth grade, my plan has been to be in the nursing or doctor fields,” she said.
Jakesia plans to attend Mississippi Delta Community College and major in nursing. She then plans to attend a university and pursue her master’s degree and possibly her M.D.
“I want to help people,” she said. “That’s what my mind is set on, to help people. The same way my daddy and my doctors did for me, I want to do the same for someone else.”