A minute after he was born, Cody Jones stopped breathing. Twenty years and more than 60 surgeries later, Cody is a junior at Pickens High School and making the best of life.
Although he was delivered following a normal, full term pregnancy, Cody faced, among other things, a rare lung disease and a severe heart condition that forced him to have open-heart surgery when he was just three weeks old.
“We stayed at Kennestone for three weeks and then went to Egleston, and they found out what all was wrong with him,” said his mother, Angie Jones.
Born in 1991 to Mark and Angie Jones, Cody spent his first five and a half months in a hospital, before being sent home on oxygen and a ventilator. When he left the hospital, his parents and older sister Haley weren’t given much hope, the mother said.
Over the years, things didn’t improve as doctors discovered more and more medical issues.
“Really I couldn’t count the number of surgeries he’s had – it’s 60 plus. He’s got a rare lung disease called bronchomalschia and a heart condition. His open-heart surgery when he was three weeks old was his first surgery. He’s been in and out of Egleston the whole 20 years since he was born.”
Cody now has a trachostophy and uses an oxygen tank during the day fitted with a speaking valve.
“We’ve always called him our miracle,” Jones said.
For the past four years, Cody has attended Pickens High School, something he absolutely loves.
“Before going to PHS, teachers came here because his immunity was way down. He loves going to school. His whole day is going there. He’ll graduate next year in 2013.”
Cody sells ice cream to his peers during lunch.
“He really loves high school. After he’s been home for so long, it’s really been good for him,” his mom said. “He’s a happy little boy. Most people know him. He has a lot of friends.”
Wanting to make Cody’s Christmas extra special, last year his parents asked friends, family and strangers to send him Christmas cards, because he loves getting mail. Cody received 352 cards, likely more Christmas cards than anyone else in Pickens County. According to his mom, 90 percent of the cards came from local folks.
“He enjoys them so much,” Jones said of her son. “When the mail runs, he always wants to get some mail, so we thought that would be something good.”
Not only did people send cards, some even sent gifts.
“It was overwhelming that he got so many cards last year,” the mother said. “Some of them had gifts and money with them. He got enough to get his letterman’s jacket. He was tickled to death. He really wanted one. That was an extra special gift.”
Jones filled a hall in their home with the cards Cody received and plans to replace last year’s cards with more cards she hopes will come this holiday season.
“I just couldn’t stand to take them down after so many people sent them to him,” Jones said. “We’ve enjoyed them all year. We started it on December 10th last year. This year we posted it (on Facebook) Saturday night, and he got eight in the mail (Monday). People are pretty quick.”
If you’d like to make Cody’s Christmas extra special, mail cards to: Cody Jones, 218 Bell Avenue, Jasper, Ga. 30143.