For a few moments in 1987, the entire country stood still as a child’s fate hung in the balance: A little girl from Midland, Texas, had fallen into a well.
In a time when there were few channels on our televisions, Americans sat together on their couches transfixed as the painstaking rescue to save 18-month-old Jessica McClure (nicknamed “Baby Jessica”) unfolded.
Jessica fell 22 feet into a well in her aunt’s backyard on October 14, 1987. For the next 58 hours, rescuers worked tirelessly to free the little girl.
Fortunately, they succeeded and Jessica lived to tell the tale. Although doctors had to amputate a toe and she was left with a scar on her head, Jessica was fine. The now-grown Jessica recently came forward to share what she’s been up to.
“I had God on my side that day,” she told People magazine. “My life is a miracle.”
Jessica received a $1.2 million trust fund donated by well-wishers, which she received when she turned 25. However, all of that money is now gone, in part due to the 2008 stock-market crash. The rest went to purchase a modest home.
Jessica is a special-education teacher’s aide. She has a husband, Danny Morales, and two children. Jessica’s story shows that a child’s life can be transformed by collective kindness and that suffering a tragedy doesn’t mean you can’t live an ordinary life.
“I think it’s amazing that people would come together like that to donate money to a child that was not theirs,” she told People. “I appreciate everything they did.”
The well into which she tumbled has been permanently closed. It bares a special engraving: “For Jessica, 10-16-87, with love from all of us.”
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