Condition/Challenge: Prematurity, Stroke, Cerebral Palsy, Scoliosis

JohnMichael was born with the medical odds totally against him. He was born at 26 weeks with a 10% chance of survival weighing only 11 ounces. JohnMichael spent the first 7 months of his life undergoing numerous intestinal surgeries and a nearly fatal bacterial infection at only 3 months old. During resuscitative measures taken to save his life from this infection he suffered a massive left-brain stroke. After the stroke the doctors told us JohnMichael would never walk, talk, eat or have any hope of a normal life. The stroke led to numerous complications and obstacles to overcome including: visual and speech impairment, feeding and nutritional challenges, learning disabilities and right-side motor skill impairment with a neuromuscular imbalance. This imbalance led to neuromuscular scoliosis at age 15. In January 2016, JohnMichael was treated for the scoliosis at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas using halo traction and spinal fusion surgery with titanium rods. Throughout JohnMichael’s life he has embraced and persevered through many ongoing therapies to improve his quality of life which have included speech, physical, occupational, feeding, music, vision and Orientation & Mobility Therapy.

Celebrated For:

Despite his challenges, He is a senior at Deer Park High School in their structured learning classroom, where he is known throughout the campus halls for his Famous whistle, echo and contagious smile and laugh. Whether at Church or out in the community, JohnMichael is always ready to Greet those he meets by reaching out for their hand to give an unbelievably HARD five and Brighten their day with that Famous whistle and Smile that is sure to lift your Spirits. He will also pray for people and has the ability to sense when they need his prayers.

He has a very active life with therapies and enjoying his favorite things: church, school, football games. JohnMichael was an honorary Captain for the Tiffi Youth Football League in his community.  JohnMichael participates in Special Olympics and plays on a special needs baseball team called Cody’s Field of Dreams in Deer Park, Texas. He loves going with his church on the Father-Son baseball trips to various major league ballparks. When he was five years old, JohnMichael received the honor of being chosen to throw out the first pitch in Kissimmee, Florida at an Astros Spring Training game.

His successes have been featured in numerous articles, newscasts and publications. These include: A local television report featuring Dr. Mary Brandt from TCH discussing his intestinal surgeries, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center commercials and pamphlets, The Houston Chronicle, Exceptional Parent Magazine chronicling his successful feeding clinic experience at St. Josephs Feeding Clinic in New Jersey, where he learned to eat at the age of three, a 2017 Cover of Rite Up Magazine from Scottish Rite Hospital featuring his miracle journey of his healing from neuromuscular scoliosis.

JohnMichael is always excited, wanting and willing to help others in any way he can. As we have found interventions and people along the way who helped JohnMichael during this journey, he has shared in those blessings to help others with similar needs. JohnMichael accomplishes this through several avenues. He and his friends hosted a golfing benefit for a local special needs friend through the Friends of JohnMichael Golf Tournament to attend the feeding clinic he had attended in New Jersey.

He participates monthly in the Taco Sales at his school to benefit various causes. He LOVES being an “ambassador” for Scottish Rite Hospital, where his story is featured in their magazine (Rite Up) and a documentary about his journey was produced in an effort to reach other families who don’t know “HOPE” is out there for their children suffering from neuromuscular scoliosis.

We Celebrate JohnMichael as a Superstar because throughout his life journey he has been an inspiration to all who have been Blessed to meet him. He has demonstrated Strength in the battles, Perseverance in the valleys and been described as Light, Joy and Love. He has been called a Miracle and his life is a real example of the power of Prayer and the Faithfulness of God.