From Hospitals to School Hallways


Elizabeth Wilder, Sarah Henson, and Cadyn Qualls

Among the herd of mustangs walking within the halls of BIC are a few unique sounds of commute – the faint clicks of crutches and wheelchairs kissing the floor.


Destany Ballard is one of the two returning students who are recovering from summertime surgeries. Destany had surgery on August 4, 2016 – just two weeks before her first week as a junior. She started school on crutches but had to use a wheelchair for the majority of the week.  Destany had to have reconstruction surgery on her knee due to it buckling in and out of place when standing. Destany is expected to have another surgery either over Christmas break of this year or the summer break. During her seventh grade year, she had surgery on her left knee – replacing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) with a hamstring in hopes of repairing the knee itself.


“It was painful but necessary,” she said.


Destany will go to physical therapy for three days a week for eight weeks, unless her range of motion is still compromised; then the therapy will be longer. “Every degree is a milestone for me,”she said. She has just recently reached sixty degrees in the bend of her knee. Her physical therapist held and pushed her knee to make it bend – a very painful experience.


“I am ready to be able to sit down with her knee bent, and walk without having her knee having to be completely straight.” Destany is looking forward to being able to get back to her normal activities without a brace to help her walk.


On August 8th, 2016, Morgan Alyssa Collard had heart surgery due to a heart murmur discovered at infancy that pumped the heart backwards. The doctors at Arkansas Children’s Hospital found that Alyssa had a vascular ring around her aortic valve and esophagus. This had caused her trouble swallowing and breathing. Usually when a baby is born, they have 2 rings around their heart; one goes away and the other stays. The wrong one stayed on Alyssa, causing problems.


Though Alyssa was undergoing a serious surgery herself, she didn’t spend time having pity on herself. Insead, she spent her time praying for others who she felt needed it more than herself.


“ When I was waiting for my surgery and when I was waiting to be released all I could think about were the other kids in the hospital who had it worse than I did. I guess you could say it was sort of a life changing experience.”


Alyssa went back to the cardiologist on August 26th and was told her that for now, her heart is fine and no surgeries are needed in the near future.


“I’m glad that they found the problem as quickly as they did. I’m glad that they did the surgery and got it fixed before it got any worse.The pain that comes after surgery stinks, but knowing it’s better for my health makes me feel okay about it.”


Following the surgery, Alyssa had a seizure that caused her to be paralyzed from the waist down. Though paralysis is why she was initially sent to Le Bonheur, the reason for the sudden paralysis either time is still undetermined.


Alyssa can’t do much of anything without feeling weak or breathless. However, she still attempts many things.


“You should never give up on yourself,” Collard said.


Recently, her life has seemed to be nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Constantly commuting to and from Memphis has been difficult on her parents and a financial burden. However, she has a great support group – family and friends that help keep her sane.


Like Destany, Alyssa is looking forward to falling back into her normal life and routine. She desires to break free from the restraints of the wheelchair and regain a simple freedom – to walk without assistance and dependency on another.