Jaclyn Strong: The remarkable recovery of one young El Paso woman

News

El Paso, Texas (KTSM) — She’s been featured in medical magazines, was named University Medical Center’s Wildflower profile in its Pulse newsletter and is on her way to being a public speaker. Twenty-two- year-old Jaclyn Pellicott is a living miracle.

The last time KTSM 9 News saw Jaclyn was in the fall of 2019, nearly one year after she was involved in a car wreck that nearly crushed her.

The day was Oct. 30, 2018, and it ultimately changed her life.

“We were driving and we were going to make a left turn … two lanes were stopped, and they waved us to go through, so we went and, in the third lane, a truck came and hit my side,” explained Jaclyn.

The crash was so violent it shifted Jaclyn’s brain and caused such severe damage that some doctors told her family she would never walk or talk again.

Determined to prove doctors wrong, the Pellicott family did what they could to help Jaclyn. They packed their bags and headed to TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation in Houston.

“When Jaclyn arrived, she hadn’t been out of bed,” said Dr. Kathrine O’Brian, Jaclyn’s neuropsychologist at TIRR. “She hadn’t been doing much and they weren’t sure what condition she was in or if she could even understand.”

However, within a short amount of time, Jaclyn broke barriers.

“Her family was incredible, you know Denis and Sheri (Jaclyn’s parents) never left her side, anything we asked them to do they’d do it … any exercise, they would push her,” O’Brian explained. “Within a month, Jaclyn was communicating using her thumb.”

Jaclyn’s parents worked hard to help their daughter through her therapies, asking Jaclyn to pull through during each session.

“When we got to TIRR, they do a test, they hold up two items, one is a cup, one is a ball and they’ll say, ‘look at the ball,'” Sheri Pellicott shared with KTSM. “And Denis and I would be like, ‘look at the ball, look at the ball!’ and she would just be there and look into space.”

She added that all it took was to provide Jaclyn with what she already knew.

“So one day I tell the doctor, ‘hey, I know you know what you’re doing, but could you show her a phone or mascara, because that’s what she knows.’ Sure enough they put a phone in her hand … we hadn’t seen her, but then you see her thumb, (it’s moving) like she’s scrolling,” Sheri said.

Jaclyn progressed day by day. She has progressed more than doctors expected and walking on the treadmill is one of her favorite things to do.

“It feels great that I can share my story with everyone who has a traumatic brain injury or is going through an illness,” said Jaclyn. “They can do it, they can get through this, they need to pray because God will help them.”

Jaclyn is now on her way to start school once again in the summer of 2021 at the University of Texas at El Paso.

For more information on Jaclyn’s journey, click here.

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