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Premature birth
Jakarri Johnson

The road to kindergarten has not been an easy one for 5-year-old Jakarri Johnson of Montgomery – but thanks to his friends and caregivers at Children’s of Alabama, he’s doing just fine now!

Jakarri was born prematurely, and it soon became apparent he would not be able to receive adequate nutrition by mouth. Shortly after his birth, doctors at Children’s placed a gastrostomy tube (g-tube) into his abdomen so nutrition and medications could be delivered directly to his stomach.

Soon, he was gaining weight and growing well, but there were other obstacles ahead. At age 2 months, he had laser eye surgery. Heart surgery followed. Then there were asthma attacks, and seizures due to a brain bleed.

But despite all these complications of prematurity, Jakarri is thriving and enjoying school at Dalraida Elementary, according to his mother, Shay Bullock. The Montgomery Walmart associate gives credit for her son’s general good health and success in kindergarten to the excellent care he received at Children’s.

“He is in a regular class in school,” she says. “Although he still visits his eye doctor, he won’t have to go back to the cardiologist until he is 10 years old!”

Shay’s experiences at Children’s during the first 4 months of Jakarri’s life led her to take a leadership role in Walmart’s annual fundraising campaign in conjunction with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH).

“I am honored to help,” she says. “I know first-hand how important CMNH hospitals like our own Children’s of Alabama are – not just for my son – but also for the thousands of kids in the River Region of Alabama who are receiving the best of care there!”
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