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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

2017 Lincoln Campus GOAL Award recipient Jessica Lindsay

May 01, 2017

Click here to learn more about the GOAL Awards

A stroke at any age is a debilitating obstacle to overcome, but when you’re a 29-year-old wife and mother, the immediate impact is overwhelming.

For Tarkio, Missouri, native Jessica Lindsay, in December 2015, that impact could not have been more dramatic.

Jessica suffered a severe stroke that caused a blockage to her brainstem and locked-in syndrome, causing paralysis throughout her body. Less than 1 percent of stroke victims suffer this fate where they are fully conscious but rendered completely unable to move or talk.

Doctors told her husband Tommy that she would probably never wake up. But a unique procedure by doctors at Nebraska Medicine gave Jessica a chance, and she arrived at Madonna Specialty Hospital to begin her recovery. She could not breathe, let alone move independently.

But Jessica and her Madonna team of physicians, nurses and therapists remained undeterred. First, she was weaned off her vent and able to breathe on her own.

Completely aware of her surroundings, therapists started to work with Jessica on eye-gaze technology for communication, but before long she wouldn’t need it as she gradually found her voice.

With incredible will and determination, she learned how to eat, drink, talk and started moving her hands. She colored with her 6-year-old daughter Savanna and posted on Facebook a simple message: “I’m back!!!!”

Jessica’s perseverance, combined with Madonna’s expertise helped her achieve every recovery milestone.

For a young mother and a family who were told she might never wake up and likely never move again, Jessica defied incredible odds.

But those that know Jessica Lindsay the best, say that with her relentless determination, the sky remains the limit for her recovery.