Eeeeek! For our third installment of our Diversity Blog series we are elated to introduce you to the Freeman family and little Miss Jackie!
The Freeman's found out at 20 weeks gestation that Jackie had a cleft lip and heart defect, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. CHARGE syndrome was diagnosed after Jackie's birth. It was soon discovered that she has large optic nerve Colobomas (holes in the back of her eyes) that cause severe vision impairment. She was found to be deaf in her left ear with mild loss on the right and had trouble eating. She had a surgically implanted feeding tube put in at 2 weeks old, which she had for 2 years. She also has a complete cleft palate, and right sided hip dysplasia. For the Freeman's it felt like the hits kept coming. Jackie was in the NICU for 6 weeks and once she was released Kim, Jackie's mom, states the first few months were all focused on her survival.
Fast forward and Jackie has undergone 13 surgeries in 3 years. The most difficult being open heart surgery at 8 months old. Through it all Kim states that Jackie has overcome it all like a true warrior and has the best spirit and personality! She loves bears, cats, and Peppa Pig. Pretend play is her favorite, and she is all things girly girl.
The Freeman's love SwimZip for two reasons!... the zippers and the built in SPF which is a huge time savor for them! Kim states they get so many complements when the kids are wearing their SwimZip suits! Among some of Jackie's favorite swimsuits are the suits in our Capsule Collection, specifically the Gingham One Piece, and our 2 Piece Laser Cut Set!
I asked Kim if there's anything she would want other parents with special needs kids to know. Here's what she wanted to share!
"I remember after we got the diagnosis I felt devastated. It was scary. It was hard and incredibly isolating. I have found a strong support system through social media and taken on a couple volunteer positions helping other families which has helped me with my own healing. I would tell other parents who have children with CHARGE or another rare disease to find their tribe - oh how important that is! Get connected with all of the therapy places in your community. Make friends with other special needs moms, or even start a moms group like I have! It’s so important to surround yourself with people who can understand what you are going through." I encourage you to head over to Jackie's Instagram page, @ourjourneyforjackie, to show the Freeman family some love and support!