Walking Tall After 36 Surgeries, This 20-Year-Old Is Epitome Of Perseverance
At age 20, Jerren Harrison is finally standing on his own. He's nearly 6 feet tall, which isn't terribly unusual, unless you consider the fact that every inch that Jerren has grown for the last 18 years of his life has come with enormous effort and assistance.
Jerren was just 6 weeks old when he was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. The disease attacked his growth plates and his bones, making it exceedingly difficult for baby Jerren to follow the standard path of childhood growth. Fortunately, Jerren had great doctors, including Dr. Laura Jacks, who has worked with Jerren throughout most of his life.
To help Jerren grow and remain healthy and strong, his doctors inserted rods into his legs, which would be slowly expanded over time, forcing his body to grow along with them. Of course, such invasive surgery comes with lots of hospital time—and additional procedures.
All in all, Jerren has had 36 surgeries in 18 years. But his most recent procedure was his last in the long, long process of helping him grow.
"It's a great feeling," Jerren said, "because I know that this is coming to the end. I don't have to worry about being set back anymore... I don't have to worry about my grades falling."
He sure doesn't. In fact, Jerren is now in college! Clearly, this strong young man grew as much intellectually and emotionally as he did physically over the last 18 years.