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If you like love stories, I have a powerful love story for the ages. A true story that speaks to the power of a mother’s love and her twenty-five-year fight to save the life of her son. When I think about this woman and her son—she’s been my friend for 15 years—I know without a doubt that miracles do happen. 

From the moment he was born, Jonathan Carrington has been the miracle boy.

Imagine giving birth to a perfect, healthy baby boy, and four months later, an aneurysm ruptures in his brain and he’s left severely challenged. That’s what happened to Tammy Carrington’s precious only child, Jonathan. Before she took her new baby home from the hospital, Jonathan was given a Hepatitis B vaccine without her consent or knowledge. 

“Within four hours of getting the shot, Jonathan began screaming at the top of his lungs, Tammy said. “Blood-curdling screams, 18 to 20 hours a day, every day. He was inconsolable. I felt like the worst mom ever. I felt so inadequate.” 

Then Jonathan’s bowels shut down. His pediatrician said it was colic. “Be patient and he’ll outgrow it. In the meantime, you’ll need to bring him in three times a week so we can stretch his little sphincter so he can poop.” In other words, they had to dig the feces out of his tiny body.

At two months of age, Jonathan was given a second Hepatitis B along with a Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis vaccine. Later, when Tammy researched the vaccines her son had been given, she discovered they were part of a “hot lot” (devastating side effects) that had killed and injured lots of children. According to VAERS, a government database, Jonathan had received one of the top 10 “hottest lots” in U.S. history.

“His screaming got worse. His hair fell out in clumps, and he screamed until he blew a blood vessel in his brain. He was only four months old.” 

Jonathan died in the helicopter when they were life-flighting him and was resuscitated, then died twice more in the pediatric ICU and was resuscitated. His medical records state his brain had little or no oxygen for 30 to 45 five minutes during the three times he coded. He was placed on total life support with 21 IV drips going into him. When they began weaning him off of life support and the IVs, the aneurysm bled again. 

“He was given less than 24 hours to live. We called our pastor and spent the night praying over him, and he stabilized.” 

Tammy and her now ex-husband airlifted Jonathan from Texas to the leading expert in aneurysms in young children at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center. They were to perform an eight-hour procedure with nine doctors. After two hours, the surgeon came out of the operating room and said, “We can’t explain it, but the aneurysm is gone.” 

“We can,” Tammy told him. All of East Texas has been praying for him.” The newspapers and the local TV station, KTRE, had been following Jonathan and were updating the community. They named him “The Miracle Boy.” 

Jonathan is now 25 years old, a special needs child who is considered medically fragile. One month ago, on December 4th, Jonathan was hospitalized on a ventilator with Flu A, Strep, and aspirational pneumonia, and he was in kidney, heart, and respiratory failure. He literally had no pulse. They put him on four vasopressors just to give him a blood pressure. Doctors didn’t expect him to live. One physician said Jonathan should be put on hospice, but Tammy didn’t give up. 

“He nearly crashed, and I stood against the wall and watched him almost die.” 

A week ago, in the middle of the night, Tammy saw Santa Claus in the hospital and asked if he would pay a visit to her special needs child in intensive care.

Santa asked Tammy if he could pray for him. “I’m not just Santa Claus,” he told her. “I’m a preacher, too.” 

“I’ve got some anointing oil,” Tammy told him, to which Santa said, “Even better.” 

Santa prayed, and the nurses came and prayed, and the next day everything started to turn around. All of Jonathan’s organs that were failing had normalized. The four vasopressors needed to even give him a blood pressure were gradually removed.

The hospital chaplain told Tammy that one of Jonathan’s doctors was agnostic, but “now he’s been asking questions about God.” To be in almost total organ failure and have everything normalize… He couldn’t explain it.

It wasn’t long before the same doctor came to Tammy and said, “I believe there’s something greater than us, and last night I prayed for Jonathan. I asked if there was anything else I could do for him.” That day, after 15 days on a ventilator, Jonathan breathed on his own for 19 hours. 

The doctor and Tammy were sobbing and hugging, and they cried and hugged one another three more times.

For over a month, Tammy Carrington has been sleeping on a small cot next to Jonathan’s hospital bed in his ICU room. During our recent conversations, she’s paused numerous times to suction his mouth so he doesn’t choke on his own saliva, or so she and the medical team could turn him. This has been their life for 25 years.

While Tammy has some trusted home healthcare nurses, she is not a wealthy woman. Most of Jonathan’s care falls to her, and she does it gratefully and gladly. In all the time I’ve known her, I’ve never heard her complain or say, “Why me.” Just the opposite. 

In 1997, when her perfect, four-month-old baby boy suffered an aneurysm, she promised God if He would save her son, she would tell his story to everyone who would listen. And she has. Tammy is the epitome of God’s love, and Jonathan is the angel through which she expresses that love.

“Halloween is Jonathan’s big time, and I go all out because it brings him unbridled joy and happiness. We visit the doctors and the Toyota dealership that takes care of our van, and when he hears the laughter and everyone saying his name, it makes him smile and laugh. I would do anything to bring him joy and quality of life.”

Jonathan Carrington is still very sick. He’s had a tracheostomy and is on a ventilator, and he still has an infection and a fever of unknown origin. Everything about this little boy, who can’t walk or talk, steals the heart of everyone who meets him. Jonathan’s story underscores the power of a mother’s love, and he’s shown us the power of prayer and the love God has for us.

If you find it in your heart, please pray for Jonathan Carrington, his medical team, and his mother, Tammy. And if you’re part of a church or a prayer group, please add them to your prayer list.

I believe “this is a God thing,” and God isn’t done with Jonathan or Tammy.

Share this Story

Hi Girlfriends,

I’m proud to say that 1010ParkPlace™ has been voted one of the Top Ten Blogs for women over 50: the best-educated, wealthiest, most powerful demographic in history.

Here you will get a glimpse into the lives of other women, learn how they handled things life put in their path like divorce, the death of a spouse, serious health issues, low self-esteem, addiction and how to reinvent yourself after a major life change. You will find like-minded women and relevant conversations about finances, fashion, sex, books, music, films and food. We feature interviews with inspiring women along with straight-talk and bold conversations to reawaken your passions and make life count.

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Tell your girlfriends, sisters and coworkers about 1010ParkPlace. We have lots of exciting interviews planned and stay tuned for updates about my memoir! 

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  1. Incredible narrative of a Mother’s love, faith, and the tenacity of the will to live. Thank you Brenda for bringing this beautiful inspirational story to your readers.

    • Thank you, Laureen. The will to live is so strong in all of us. I’m amazed at this story. Love you, Brenda

  2. Thanks for posting this beautiful story. I will tuck Jonathan and Tammy into my rosary prayers, God is good!

    • My heart goes out to Jonathan and his mother. This brings back such memories. My precious daughter, Lesley was born very prematurely and was in the NICU for five months, home for ten days where I did cpr on her twice. She then went to the PICU where she stayed for almost two years. She came home with a trach, O2, etc. I wish them all the best and will keep them in my prayers.

      • Thank you for sharing the miracles of God. I am prayer for Jonathan and Tammy and their doctors. May they each see God’s presence and glory through their daily struggles.

      • Thanks for sharing, Donna. You, more than anyone, can identify with what Tammy’s going through. Blessings, Brenda

    • I know… It either leaves you speechless or in tears. Tears is where I’ve been for the last few weeks. xoxox, Brenda

    • Thank you for your prayers, Elisa. I’m just the conduit through which God shares their story. Blessings, Brenda

  3. I’m at a loss for words… Tammy is a role model for all of us to never give up and to trust in the Lord. God bless her and her son and his doctors.

    • You’re so right, Arlo. Tammy inspires me every day with her faith and strength. I’d like to think I would have her strength in this situation. Thank you for reading, Brenda

  4. I get the impression she’s been a single mother throughout this but in the Christmas card photo I see a man and another little boy. Did she remarry and have another child?

    • Paula, Yes. Tammy has walked this path as a single mother, but recently she remarried, and I’m overjoyed for her. The boy is his son. Thank you, Brenda

  5. Thank you, Brenda, for this wonderful and inspiring message of Love, Hope and Faith. Not only a beautifully written piece, but also an illustration of your fearlessness to publicly acknowledge your own Faith. Prayer is a powerful and effective weapon and a necessary tool in the war against Chaos. Prayers for Tammy and Jonathan, and you, the best friend I’ve never met!
    ps. How’s the book coming??

      • Thank you, Yvonne! I know you’re still grieving and I send you my love. Speaking of faith, have faith it will get better. xoxox, Brenda

    • Thank you, Mark. My first husband was a scientist and an agnostic who used to say “give me proof and I’ll believe in God.” Now I would tell him that’s why it’s called faith. The book… Thanks for asking. I have an agent, and I’m doing rewrites! The process is literally like being on a rollercoaster. Up one day and down the other.

  6. The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. I’m praying for Jonathan and his beautiful mom.

  7. That this mother continues to do everything in her power to make her son’s life better is what love is all about. Bless you Brenda for sharing her story.

    • And thank you for reading and leaving me and Tammy such a sweet comment. We appreciate you, Kelly. Brenda

  8. I can’t see past my tears to write this. Thank you Brenda for bringing us their story. Yes, I will pray for them.

  9. Hi Brenda,
    What an incredible story to read about Tammy and her son Jonathan. They have been through so much together. Tammy sounds like there is nothing she can’t do. Just when you think you’ve heard it all you hear about another heart wrenching story.
    Blessings to them both. They both remain in my thoughts.

    • Thank you, Katherine! Tammy is a tower of strength and love and she does all of this with God’s help. Blessings to you as well, Brenda

  10. Brenda, Tammy and Jonathan her son have such strength. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking and at the same time life affirming this journey has been for them and everyone who knows them. They’ll be in my thoughts.

    • Thanks for reading and leaving this comment. I appreciate you, Teresa. Here’s wishing you a healthy and love-filled week. xoxox, Brenda

  11. I got to when Tammy said, “We can. All of East Texas has been praying for him.” Then I lost it. I’m in a heap. My heart is full and so grateful you’ve asked us to pray for them. Thank you Brenda.

    • Oh, Gina! You can’t imagine how many times I’ve been in a heap over Jonathan and Tammy. I haven’t cried this much since my husband James died. Bless you, Brenda

  12. Dear Brenda, thank you so much for this beautiful, inspiring, heart wrenching story. Tammy, Jonathan and you Brenda with your beautiful caring soul are in my thoughts and prayers.

  13. What a testimony Tammy and Jonathan are to others, they are in my prayers. Thank you Brenda for sharing a very inspiring and beautiful story.

    • I’m grateful I could be a tool to help share their story. Thank you for your prayers, Brenda. xoxox, Brenda

  14. What a testimony to the power and grace of God and of His love. May He continue to strengthen Tammy, to sustain and uphold her and their family, and praying for complete healing and restoration of Jonathan. What a faithful mom. Thank you for sharing.

    Excited to hear your book is still in process! Hang in there!! We’re all pulling for you and praying for you! Can’t wait to see the result! ❤️

  15. I am praying for them, too. I have a 32 severely disabled daughter from birth, I can identify with this mom’s journey. I feel so honored to care for for my girl, not burdened, but chosen, tired but not resentful, giving freely of my capabilities, not sacrificing my life. I am so grateful to hear he has such an awesome mama, family and friends, and a thoughtful friend like you to honor your friend in her selfless life’s work, sharing her unconditional, endless love in her purpose here and now. God bless all of you. Hugs and prayers.

    • Thank you for leaving a message for Tammy! You understand what’s involved mentally, physically, and emotionally and the unexpected gifts a disabled and challenged child brings. God bless you and your daughter. xoxox, Brenda

    • Love, love, love! In every shape and size and unexpected tragedy and illness there is always love to be found. Thank you, Hilda. xoxox, Brenda

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