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Diagnosis means a chance for a better life for a girl with a rare condition

Posted at 4:30 AM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-11 07:02:26-04

CINCINNATI -- Ten-year-old Jerrica Stone has spent a lot of time in hospitals. 

“My favorite thing about the hospital is when child life brings me toys,” Jerrica said speaking through an iPad. 

She first received treatment in Louisville. 

“Our first year, she had 63 admissions,” Jerrica’s mom Barbara McClaren said. “The first three years I think we had a total of about 110.”

McClaren, who was one of the nurses in Louisville, and a family friend to Jerrica’s biological parents, also became her mother. 

“Her parents said, 'We don’t want to do this anymore,'" McClaren said. “We had already talked about it before, if they weren’t going to take her home, we will.” 

Barbara brought Jerrica home and introduced her to her two new brothers at just 8 months old. 

“She’s never really known any family but ours,” McClaren said.

“We definitely get along,” Jerrica’s brother Matthew said. “There’s very little she and I can’t do together.”

Year after year, no one knew what was wrong with Jerrica. Many of her doctors said she might not survive long, that is, until they went to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for a second opinion. 

“Before we were going to go to hospice,” McClaren said, “Nobody had an answer. We didn’t know what else to do.”

After spending some time at Children’s, Jerrica was finally correctly diagnosed with congenital myasthenia syndrome, which means her brain will tell her body to move, but her muscles never get the message. 

“Just getting an answer meant everything,” McClaren said. “To know there were medications that could help, the whole world opens up again. She went from moving just her thumb to sitting up and dancing. She put a lollipop in her mouth and it was absolutely unbelievable.”