Daniel J Vance

If you have time for a love story…

Eighteen years ago, Lorraine Rose of Bennettsville, South Carolina, gave birth to her first child, a daughter, Jasmine. “It was a normal pregnancy,” said 48-year-old Rose in a telephone interview. “But at birth, Jasmine wouldn’t come down the birth canal. They had to deliver her with forceps. The cord was wrapped around her neck and she wasn’t breathing.”

A United Cerebral Palsy website states 750,000 Americans have cerebral palsy, which is caused by brain damage occurring before, during or shortly after birth. It affects the brain’s ability to control muscle movement and usually doesn’t affect intelligence.

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Eventually, an unfamiliar doctor talked with Rose. “He said Jasmine had cerebral palsy. I’d never heard the word before in my life. He didn’t give me any information. When leaving there, I thought my daughter had an incurable disease and was going to die within months.”

Living in rural South Carolina before the advent of the Internet brought access to information, she would go on another year thinking her daughter would die. Finally, after eighteen months, the same doctor that had so coldly told her Jasmine had cerebral palsy, told her to “go on with your own life” and “put Jasmine into an institution.”

She thought then, “Go on with my life? Jasmine is my life.”

Today, 18-year-old Jasmine has recently graduated from high school.

“She has limited speech,” said Rose. “I can understand her better than other people can. To get around the house, she uses an electric wheelchair.” Jasmine communicates using a computer by pushing keyboard keys with a pointer connected to a special hat.

Rose said “Jazz” has given her a very rich life. And the entire city of Bennettsville seems to have been blessed by Jasmine, too.

Said Rose, “She is bubbly all the time. I have never seen her go a day without smiling. Anybody meeting her automatically falls in love with her. If having the opportunity to meet her, you would love her, too. Her classmates took to her so well. There wasn’t anyone at school that didn’t know her.” Jasmine enjoyed English and literature classes, and writes poetry.

A while ago, a friend who is a police officer asked Jazz to the prom. The local police force provided a full escort for them through town. “It was so beautiful,” said Rose.

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