Lacey Parker and her mom Renee Parker came from DeSoto to chat with KLUV’s Jody Dean and Jenny Q this afternoon at Children’s Medical Center for the fundraiser Radiothon, joining folks like Tom Thumb’s Connie Yates, Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s former President Dr. Kern Wildenthal and ADT’s Jessica Short and Dolly Lynch.
That doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Only it wasn’t DeSoto, Texas. The pair came 200 miles from Stonewall, Louisiana, where Lacey attends North DeSoto Middle School.
But the trek wasn’t new for the two. They’ve made the trip twice a year for the past 12 years.
It was in 2004 that Renee discovered that she was six months pregnant and ended up giving birth to Lacey two months later. The moment she saw her daughter, she knew Lacey had Down’s Syndrome. No problem for the Parker family.
But there was a problem. The infant was blue. The doctors at the first hospital more or less told the parents to love Lacey as much as they could, because she probably wouldn’t last three weeks.
Upon hearing the news, Renee was so upset, she went to the bathroom and cried. So much so that the janitor had to remove the door to get Renee out.
Luckily, the Parkers sought a second opinion at Dallas’ Children’s Medical Center and learned that the bottom of Lacey’s heart was missing. So, at the age of six months, she had open heart surgery at the hands of Dr. Stephen Leonard.
But before the delicate, six- to eight-hour-long surgery took place in December 2004, Dr. Leonard and the Parkers made an agreement: if it appeared that they were losing Lacey, he would call them to the “back door” to say “good-bye.”
After four hours, they got the call. Arriving at the doors and prepared for the worst, they saw Dr. Leonard with Lacey in his arms. For the first time ever, their little girl had a healthy pink color. She went home four days later.
Since that time, Lacey has been picked for her middle school cheerleading team and was named Miss Amazing for Louisiana and then Miss National Princess for Miss Amazing.
Her reaction at becoming a cheerleader was taped and went viral and was viewed by millions. The result? Lacey was featured on “Good Morning America,” CNN and the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
That story had those in Children’s Medical Center’s Butterfly Atrium spellbound. But then Jody, Jenny Q and Lacey broke the moment with the question of, “What’s your favorite professional football team?” Louisiana Lacey replied, “The Saints.” Jenny Q pushed the envelope and asked what Lacey’s second favorite team was … “Perhaps a Texas team?” Lacey didn’t hesitate: “No.”
Those are the kind of stories that are being broadcast Friday over KLUV 98.7 and La Grande.
The hope is that donations will be made for little ones like Lacey to have a chance to cheer.