HEWITT, Texas (KWTX) The unprecedented rush to stock up on supplies spurred by the threat of the new coronavirus left a 3-year-old Hewitt girl in dire straits, but residents were quick to respond to her grandmother’s social media appeal for help.
Sherry Sexton's granddaughter Aria Jimenez, 3, was given small chance of survival after she was born with short bowel syndrome, a condition which left her unable to absorb nutrients needed, which left 95 percent of her small intestine dead.
Aria and her mother, a nurse at Ascension Providence Hospital in Waco, live with Sexton in Hewitt.
Aria is fed through a gastrostomy or G tube, is homebound and requires around-the-clock care because of the condition, which is so rare she travels to Nebraska every few months to see a specialist.
She can’t have much sugar and can’t drink water, but is administered low-sugar Gatorade through the feeding tube.
Her main source of nutrients comes from a homemade concoction consisting of such things as baby food, safflower oil and baking soda.
But the coronavirus outbreak left Aria's family in a potentially life-threatening bind as shoppers scrambled to stock up.
"There were things I could not find for her and that was in the very beginning," Sexton said.
"I would see people with baskets of things overflowing and I would ask them for just one and they would tell me they had to take care of their own families."
But her faith in humanity was restored when Sexton took her desperate plea to Facebook, both on a page she manages on which others can follow her granddaughter's journey and in an online support group, Waco Moms in the know.
The response was overwhelming.
People from across Central Texas and north to the Dallas-Fort Worth area began to message for her address and before she knew it, her front porch was filled with Amazon packages and visitors waving hello through the door which she could not open.
"I have over a hundred messages from people I have no idea who they are. I've never met these people. Ninety five percent of what we received was from people I've never met and have never heard her story or her journey."
Among those who stepped up was Lacy Lakeview police Officer Drake Hawkins who helped gather an entire order of G2 Gatorade to be delivered to Sexton’s home.
"I received a message that a Lacy Lakeview cop wanted to deliver but he lived in Waxahachie. People there all went in together and he delivered it to the station where he works and he met us there," Sexton said.
Sexton says in this unsettling time she's found comfort in seeing the good of so many.
"I've met so many different people they have no idea who I am. I have no clue who these people are," she said. "It's really an eye opener. It really makes me feel in such tragedy and the circumstances we are under sometimes bad things lead to good outcomes."
Sexton also has another daughter who lives with her who also has a medically fragile daughter about the same age as Aria who also has a G tube because of a heart condition and requires distilled water.
Residents stepped up to help her with donations of distilled water as well as toilet paper, which Aria needs because her medical condition leads to frequent trips to the bathroom.