“She asked why God sent her back to me, and I said, ‘I guess He thought I needed you,” says mom. ‘Yeah, that’s what I thought, too,’ says 6-year-old with serious health problems
Jessica Davis / Photo
Single mom Jessica Davis with her “36 pounds of personality,” Haven Sims. The Pickens Community Service Club has launched a Haven’s Helpers fundraising campaign for Haven Sims, who suffers from a long list of medical conditions. Follow Haven’s progress on Facebook at “Haven the Mighty.” You can donate on their GoFundMe page or send it to the adress listed below.
Some people coast through life with no major struggles, but others are faced with challenges that seem insurmountable.
Jessica Davis and her six-year-old daughter Haven Sims have to deal with a set of challenges most people couldn’t imagine and a local service club is asking the community to help the family.
When she was just an infant, Haven was diagnosed with a disorder called VACTERL Association. This condition affects her spine, heart, veins and arteries, limbs, kidneys and brain. Her arteries don’t let enough oxygen in her body or let her blood flow normally so she tires easily. She gets kidney infections and has to use a special tube to urinate every three hours. She has malformed feet. She has vision and hearing
problems and it takes three hours every night to do bowel and bladder flushes and foot wraps. She’s had nine surgeries with more on the way, and has between 20 and 30 doctor appointments every month.
Haven also has polysplenia syndrome, which means she has more than one spleen (doctors think six).
To make matters worse Davis is a single mom who tries to make life as normal as possible for the playful kindergartener. She gets help from her mom and aunt, but the lion’s share of work falls on her. Haven’s dad left when Haven was one-and-a-half and is over $40,000 behind on child support. Still, Davis makes sure her daughter attends school, goes on fun outings, and gets her nails painted.
“The doctors told me she would never talk or walk when she was a baby, but she’s in school in regular classes,” Davis said, “and she talks 900 miles an hour. She’s 36 pounds of personality and fire, and thinks she’s 10 feet tall and bullet proof. She’s got an upbeat attitude and is the world’s most well-behaved child. I don’t know what I’d do without her.”
Jessica, who tragically lost her two-month-old daughter Athena to a heart condition, has managed to keep up payments on her house while navigating the extreme challenges of taking care of a child with special needs. Davis has a full-time job but hit a rough patch. The Pickens Community Service Club is recruiting “Haven’s Helpers” to donate money that will cover expenses not covered by medical insurance, including catheters, saline solution, feeding tubes and bags, mineral oil, hearing aid batteries, Vaseline, diapers, and over-the-counter medications.
“It’s been hard,” Davis said. “I’m the type of person who likes to do things myself. I’ve had to swallow my pride a little, but those are some wonderful, wonderful people. I’m kind of overwhelmed.”
With all the surgeries - some major - and all the medical appointments, Davis said the goal for her daughter is improvement, but treatment is “more like management.”
“As long as it’s not getting worse we’re good,” she said. “I don’t go to the doctor hopeful it will be better, I go hopeful they tell me it’s not worse. I’ve never had a healthy child so this is my normal. Like every new parent learns to change diapers for the first time, I’ve had to learn how to change catheters, too. It’s how I’ve learned to be a parent.”
Davis has gone so far as to lose 45 pounds so she can donate her kidney to Haven because her daughter’s is so damaged.
The Pickens mom tries to stay calm through all the appointments and chaos because, “I don’t want to scare her or make her worry. I’m not numb, but the more scared you are the less you fight.”
She recalled one of her most terrifying moments - when Haven’s heart jumped out of rhythm.
“It’s just her and me in our house in the woods, and she died on me,” Davis said. “Her little body gave out.”
Haven was able to be revived and an ambulance took her to Atlanta.
“The next day she asked why God sent her back to me, and I said, ‘I guess He thought I needed you.’ She told me, ‘Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.’”
If you or your business would like to become one of Haven’s Helpers you can make a donation by mailing it to the Pickens Community Service Club at 23 Mary Street, Jasper, Ga. 30143. Make checks payable to Pickens Community Service Club with “Haven’s Helpers” on the remittance line. The club can be reached at 706-692-6598.