Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

December 20, 2012

Pine Grove student part of TLC show

VALDOSTA — An 8-year-old Lowndes County girl has never let being born with a heart defect keep her from living life to the fullest.

Jessica Jordan has played soccer, taken dance lessons and, tonight, will make her television debut on the TV show “Say Yes to the Dress,” airing 10 p.m. on cable’s TLC.

This past summer, Jessica entered the Pink Pastries Pageant. It was her first pageant. From this pageant, a dozen girls were selected to participate in the recording of the television episode.

Jessica, the daughter of Marcus and Cassandra Jordan, was one of the girls selected. Filming took place in Atlanta during a few occasions this past summer. Jessica was excited about participating in the show but didn’t realize how long it would take for the episode to finally be aired, her mother says.

Jessica does not normally participate in pageants, Cassandra says. She wanted to participate in this particular one and the family entered her. If she wants to participate in another pageant in the future, Cassandra says that is Jessica’s decision. The family supports Jessica’s interests but does not force an interest upon her.

“We try to listen to her and do what she wants to do,” Cassandra says. Of pageants, she says Jessica “liked it, and if she wants to do it, she’ll do it again. ... She’s had a journey in life.”

Cassandra was born with the heart defect Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return, a condition where a child’s pulmonary veins are not connected properly to the left atrium, according to childrenshospital.org “Instead they’re re-directed to the right atrium by way of an abnormal (anomalous) connection.”

Within her first two weeks of life, Jessica underwent her first open-heart surgery. Before her first birthday, Jessica underwent her second open-heart surgery.

These surgeries corrected the heart defect.

Jessica is a Pine Grove Elementary School third-grader who is part of the gifted program. She is active in her church, Faith Christian Center, where her father serves as pastor.

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