Oklahoma Boy At Texas Children's Hospital For Second Heart Transplant

Monday, May 30th 2016, 1:46 pm
By: News 9

Jhett Skaggs, 9, is from Lexington, Oklahoma. He and his dad have been living in Houston while his mom and sister had to stay behind.

His mom is a teacher in Lexington and is their only source of income and insurance.

News 9 got to speak with her today about how others around Oklahoma and Texas are doing what they can to help.

“I like to call Jhett my $3 million kid,” said his mother Audra Skaggs.

Pictures tell the story. Jhett has a smile that can light up a room. And as his family will tell you, he's worth every penny and sacrifice they've had to make.

“My husband can't work because Jhett can't attend school or daycare,” said Audra Skaggs. “Because if he were to become sick he gets taken off the list until he gets well again.”

Audra Skaggs said Jhett was born with cardiomyopathy, a chronic heart disease. He had his first transplant when he was 10 months old, and it cost well over a million dollars.

When he was 5, he was diagnosed with coronary transplant disease. And the only cure for that is another transplant. They have now been waiting for four years.

“I've always said I would live on peanut butter and jelly if I had to, just to make sure that Jhett can be well again,” said Audra Skaggs. “And hopefully he will be able to come home soon -once he gets his transplant. It’s just a matter of waiting.”

Both Love's Country Stores and their sister company in Texas have raised nearly a million dollars the past four years in support of Texas Children's Hospital and Children's Miracle Network from their annual golf tournament to help kids just like Jhett.

They even invited Jhett to come along.

“So it was really neat that they were able to meet one of their own who is waiting here in Houston,” said Audra Skaggs. “They were very, very accommodating, and very, very friendly, and very supportive of what we've been through so far.”

Jhett’s mom said they've also received tremendous financial support from their church and their community and they can't thank them enough.

Jhett has even had a few of his Oklahoma friends visit him in the hospital which helps remind him though he may be far from home, he is far from forgotten.

The family has also established a GoFundMe page to help with the cost of running two households. Audra and her daughter would go down once a month to spend time with Jhett and then return for school.

They are now in Houston for the summer.