A special gift for triplets born just before the tornado - KOAM TV 7

A special gift for triplets born just before the tornado


A couple from Joplin along with their triplets are given a gift worth year's of fun and much needed therapy.  This family was affected by the tornado and a salesman from a local pool company decided to help.

Jayme and Chris Harper only expected two babies to be born last year.  Instead, there were three babies.

Mom and Dad had a stockpile of diapers in their home on South Jackson Street in Joplin.

"You know, their birthday is a happy time, but to think five days later our lives changed forever," says Jayme Harper.

Little Addison was born nine weeks premature inside Freeman Hospital at 8:20 in the morning on May 17, 2011.  One minute later doctors brought Lauren into the world.  Two minutes later Reagan made her entrance.

Lauren and Addison were born with only two blood vessel cords, instead of three, and had to be put on a ventilator.

Blood wasn't flowing normally to the baby's lower bodies.

Lauren now has a pacemaker, a feeding tube, and a paralyzed vocal cord.

"Just very little blood flow," says Chris Harper.  "She was always cold - cool down there on her feet and stuff."

"That happened during the coartation surgery," says Jayme Harper.  "But they said eventually, the other vocal cord will merge together, so she'll sound a little bit better."

Jayme and her daughters were still in the hospital when the tornado destroyed nearby parts of Joplin.  Chris was driving outside harm's way.  But the Harper's lost there home in the tornado.

The Harper's have since moved to a new home.

A doctor recommended swimming as therapy to work the baby's muscles since the girls have been lying in hospital beds.

"Right about two months ago I got a phone call about 9:30 in the morning, and 'how much are pools?' and 'what sizes do you have?' and we started asking the questions, 'why?' 'how big' things like that, and the story kind of unfolded from there," says Jeff Campbell of Joplin Pool & Spa.

Joplin's Pool and Spa installed a therapy pool free of charge, a gift worth more than $6,000.

Lauren has spent most of her life in a hospital bed, so her muscles aren't as strong as many other one-year-olds.  This pool will be her therapy.

"They can go right in after a nap or 30 minutes after they eat," says Campbell.  "We definitely want to be able to provide that opportunity to them and we're glad we were able to take a part in that."

The three little girls will celebrate their birthdays this weekend.

Workers at Joplin Pool & Spa say other people have contacted them for pools to be used in therapy as well.

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