EXETER — Hope for Jeremy Jr.
Not simply the title of an upcoming fundraiser for Jeremy Murphy Jr., now 15 months old, the words fittingly describe the attitude of family and friends who surround him.
At 6 months, Jeremy went into sudden cardiac arrest resulting in extensive blood and oxygen deprivation to his brain. Now diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and a visual impairment, he must be fed through a feeding tube.
Jeremy’s quick smile and warm personality belie the struggles he has endured so early in his life, however.
Joyce Heck, Jeremy’s grandmother, said despite those challenges, she has seen the hand of God upon her grandson throughout his ordeal.
“Shortly before he went into cardiac arrest, his father had taken a CPR course and knew what to do,” she said. “Although he had planned to work that night, he was home (in Exeter) and available to help.”
Heck believes his father, Jeremy Murphy Sr.’s early efforts in the moments before the ambulance arrived saved Jeremy’s life.
Hope for Jeremy Jr. will be held from noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the Cross Valley Assembly of God Church, Forty Fort.
Jeremy was originally taken to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and within two hours he was airlifted to Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, Danville, where he was in and out of intensive care.
During his time at the hospital, an initial brain scanned showed the damage to Jeremy’s brain to be “extensive.”
A second scan showed the damage to be “catastrophic.”
Still, family members clung to their hope for Jeremy and that hope has not failed them.
He was later transferred to Hershey Pediatric Rehabilitation Center, with a total of 73 days spent in the hospital.
“We spent Thanksgiving in Danville and Christmas in Hershey,” said Allison Heck.
Finally, on Jan. 22 Jeremy was able to come home to Exeter.
Since that day, the care provided him has made his progress nothing short of phenomenal.
Joyce Heck calls her daughter, Alison Heck, “a superhero,” as she recalls night after night of Alison returning to her son’s bedside during his stay at the hospital and the tremendous amount of hard work and sacrifice she has offered since Jeremy has returned home.
Originally, it was feared that Jeremy would be blind and that he would not be able to move his limbs.
Now tracking those around him and responding to visual stimulus, Jeremy’s progress has exceeded expectations, buoying the spirits of those around him. He has also recently begun to move his arms and legs.
Jeremy enthusiastically responds to best buddy and big brother, Luke Whitaker, and has done so throughout his recovery.
Although blessed with a loving family committed to his care, which includes daily appointments that make his recovery possible, Jeremy still has continuing need for financial support which will go toward the purchase of special equipment, travel for medical appointments and other items that insurance does not cover.
In preparing for the upcoming effort, Joyce Heck said she has been gratified by the support of community and businesses, contributing to the fundraiser and showering the family with prayers.
She emotionally recalls the warm response of those who have heard Jeremy’s story and have seen photos of the youngster.
She is also looking forward to the fundraiser as an opportunity to gather the community together, for a night of food, music and fellowship.
In addition to a suggested donation for admission, attendees will have opportunity to participate in a basket raffle and buy raffle tickets.