Jessy Hatch was just a few months old when she was found by a police SWAT team in a meth lab with her addict mother. Her eyes were glued shut. She reeked of smoke and her skin was grey. Her rescuers realized as they took her from the building that this tiny baby's legs were malformed – they faced backward, held stiffly in a crossed position. Each foot had just one toe. Her hands had only four digits each.
The police contacted Dawn and Aaron Hatch, a Phoenix couple who has fostered dozens of children suffering from early abuse or drug exposure. The Hatches gladly took baby Jessy in. "When my husband came home," Dawn describes, "he picked her up, looked at her and then kissed her on the belly. She gave out the biggest belly laugh we'd ever heard. We fell in love with her right then. I think it was the moment that she knew she was safe."
At only 11 months old, Jessy underwent a procedure in which her legs were amputated above the knee, thus making it possible for the child to eventually learn how to walk using a succession of prosthetic limbs as she grew older. Her newest pair of carbon fiber, custom-designed prosthetics has now made it possible for her to run for the first time. After only a couple months of training to build up her leg strength, Jessy took part in her first marathon run at the P.F. Chang's Rock N Roll Marathon Series event in Tempe, Arizona on January 19th.
Jessie refuses to sit on the sidelines in life; she has now set her sights on drawing awareness to the impact of drug use on children. She particularly takes joy in bouncing and hopping on her new lighter, more flexible legs, something she could not do with her weightier everyday pair.