Jessie Hall briefly got up from her wheelchair after arriving at D/FW Airport Friday evening.

Jessie's Story
Chris Hawes reports
July 18, 2008

FORT WORTH - Jessie Hall is one step closer to home following a radical brain surgery procedure.

The six-year-old Aledo girl checked in at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth Friday evening for an assessment by the facility's rehabilitation team.

But after watching Jessie's arrival at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport a short time earlier, you didn't have to be a doctor to know that she is well on the road to recovery.

Friends weren't sure what to expect from the girl in a wheelchair they welcomed home on Friday. They had heard the warnings before Jessie's surgery last month - she would have to re-learn how to talk, how to stand, how to walk and move.

She had half of her brain surgically removed at a Baltimore hospital last month - a hemispherectomy - the only known treatment for Rasmussen's encephalitis.

But Jessie proved she hasn't lost her spunk, joyfully smacking a balloon that plays music, showing friends her scar and patiently answering questions from reporters.

How's she feeling? "Great!" Jessie said.

She said what she appreciates most about coming back to Texas is being able to see her brothers.

And her current favorite Hannah Montana song? "Everybody Makes Mistakes."

"It's been six weeks, and I mean, look at her: she's doing great," said Jessie's dad, Cris Hall.

The youngster will spend at least the next couple of weeks at Cook Children's, where she will work on strenghening the left side of her body and re-learning basic tasks.

Doctors say her stength of will is vital to recovery, and as if to prove their point this tired six-year-old made a decision as she was leaving the airport: standing up from her wheelchair on her own.

At moments like this, Cris Hall clearly sees his daughter's future. "She'll be doing everything that any other kids do. In 15 years, maybe finishing up college, getting married, having kids," he said. "There's no limitations; we refuse to set limitations for her."


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