FULTON, Miss. (WCBI)- Jacqueline Thomas, 27, was only 19-years old when one moment changed her life forever.
“It was Memorial Day of May 2006. I had a 4 wheeler wreck. I was driving the 4 Wheeler and we took a sharp turn and I caught the edge of the pavement and the 4 wheeler flipped 8 times,” said Jacqueline Thomas.
As the ATV landed on top of her, her skull slammed into the pavement. Jacqueline’s mother, Margie, says it wasn’t long after arriving at the emergency room that doctors delivered the news that no mother wants to hear. Jackie’s brain was severely injured, and her prognosis was bleak.
“When you’re a 3, you’re brain dead. She was a 4 about to be a 3. The doctor said what did we want to do and we said we want to try and save her. He said, ‘ok, I do want you to understand it will be a salvage operation for her’,” said Margie.
Surgeons removed part of Jackie’s skull to reduce the swelling. They told her family she would never see, walk or talk again. Her family never lost hope.
“I said I want to give her the chance to recover and I thought whatever God’s will I will be happy with. If he takes her while she’s in surgery, it’s his will. But I felt like God needed to take her from me. I didn’t want to take her myself,” said Margie Thomas.
After several days in the intensive care unit, doctors sent Jackie to Jackson for rehab.
“The first two weeks were very hard. I did not want to move, but of course I had to learn how to walk again and do everything like you’re starting from a baby. Feeding myself. It was very emotional and frustrating,” said Jacqueline. She made it through it all with her family by her side.
“My mom and dad were there, every step of the way. My aunts and my uncles, they helped. I would not be where I’m am today if it wasn’t for my family,” said Jacqueline.
“I can’t even explain how much I love her and her dad. We love her very much. That night was very hard for all of us. And sometimes it’s hard to talk about, but when you talk about it, it’s also a healing process because you want people to know that they’re not alone when they go through it,” said Margie.
Jackie eventually went back to school. Now, she’s a social worker in Fulton. She uses her story as a testament to families dealing with trauma. After all, she is a walking-talking proof that miracles do exist.
“Don’t ever let something that’s traumatic or something that has happened to you set you back. Always go through with what you want to do. Don’t ever let it bring you down. Don’t let someone tell you that you can’t do something because you can,” said Jacqueline.
There was also another person on the ATV that night. He also made a full recovery. Jackie wasn’t wearing a helmet the night of the crash. Both Jackie and her family want teens and kids to hear this story and understand the importance of being safe while riding ATV’s.