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Ready to spread her wings

By June 13, 2018September 26th, 2019No Comments

By Jessie Bekker / Las Vegas Review-Journal

May 27, 2018

Socks and shoes are among the things that could have blocked Jessica Lindley’s path toward college.

For the 18-year-old Las Vegan, daily tasks such as putting on footwear require extra effort.

Still, it could’ve been worse. Had it not been for 17 surgeries by specialists outside Nevada — and help from Miracle Flights, the Las Vegas-based nonprofit that paid her way to get to those doctors — Lindley may not have been able to walk across the stage Thursday to receive her high school diploma.

This fall, the Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada, honors graduate will attend Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, where she’ll study chemistry.

Lindley has battled the rare joint condition arthrogryposis since birth. A local doctor began fitting Lindley, at three days old, with casts to try to correct her curved joints, Jessica’s mom, Rebecca Lindley, said.

Arthrogryposis affects about 1 in 3,000, according to Seattle Children’s Hospital, where Lindley received care for several years. It can affect every joint in severe cases, and in Lindley’s case, her arms and legs.

“It makes everyday life a bit of a struggle, getting around in the able-bodied world, but I’ve managed to figure out my way around it,” said Lindley, a Vegas Golden Knights fan with dreams of becoming a 911 dispatcher.

“We like to say we have a cure for distance,” Miracle Flights CEO Mark Brown said. “We hear every day from parents who are just very grateful for the opportunity to be able to go find hope and give their child a chance.”

“If Miracle Flights wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have been able to get the medical care that I have gotten,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been able to go out of state to have all the surgeries I have had … so I don’t know if I would be as good off as I am today if it wasn’t for Miracle Flights.”

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