Amputee teacher facing setback has hope

News 8's Alisha Laventure has more.

MIDLOTHIAN -- Jennifer Campbell was relieved to keep her left leg after doctors removed part of her left foot in 2014. However, a setback has forced surgeons to amputate her left leg below the knee, now making her a double amputee. 

"I was in quite a bit of pain," the fifth-grade teacher admits.

In an earlier interview, doctors explained Jennifer had the flu in 2014 that evolved into sepsis. She went into multi-system organ failure, and poor blood circulation forced doctors had to amputate all ten of Jennifer's fingertips, her right leg below the knee, and part of her left foot.

Nearly two years later, that left foot still had not fully healed. 

"The foot was just absolutely deteriorating,” Jennifer explained. “We're talking raw flesh - the smell... the incision from the last surgery was just splitting open." 

Doctors decided the best course of treatment would be to amputate Jennifer's left leg below the knee as they did her right leg earlier. 

She wiped away tears from her face as she recalled the moments leading up to her 13th amputation. 

"Right before the surgery, I had that moment where I just had to say goodbye to my foot, but to also - I know it sounds funny - but to thank that foot for what it has done for me."

While Jennifer lay in recovery at Baylor Medical Center, Lori Buford, a close friend, says she and a group of Jennifer's mutual friends were inspired to help.

"She's always putting other people first, and so when people saw that she needed, they just wanted to help her too," Lori said.

Jennifer's medical insurance did not cover the cost of her first prosthesis. To help offset the cost of the new one she would need, Lori and Jennifer’s friends decided to set up a campaign through GoFundMe.

"We just thought, well maybe a few people might chip in and help out."

The campaign ended up raising over $12,000 within the first 24 hours. The contributions continue to come in.

"I was just blown away," Lori said. The news brought Jennifer to tears.

"It's amazing - amazing! What a gift," Jennifer said.

Just 10 days after her second leg amputation, Jennifer is back in the classroom teaching her students at Dolores W. McClatchey Elementary.

"I don't know who needs each other more - them or me," Jennifer says. "They have carried me just as much as I carry them every day."

As she continues to heal, Jennifer says she is extremely hopeful this latest amputation will be the last of her surgeries. She’s now focused on the future. 

"I hope to be walking before Christmas. It'd be a great Christmas gift."

Go here to visit the GoFundMe page set up for Jennifer.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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