In December, the Christmas season is upon us. The celebration of birth, a very special birth. A miracle of life.
For new moms and dads, the witnessing of this miracle is usually a joyous occasion. A new life enters the world, and everyone rejoices in the birth. The new parents go home with their baby, and life begins as a family.
As many of us know, however, that is not the case in every story. Babies are born in various circumstances. Some surprise mom and dad a little early and some take their time, joining the world a little later than planned. For some, very special births, the true miracle is their life. Period. One such miracle is Jason Yarborough.
Born March 11, 1983, 13 weeks premature, Jason was not given any chance of survival. In fact, according to his mother Darlene, Jason was placed in a pillow case upon birth and set aside, assumed to be stillborn. It was only later, that his grandmother insisted on seeing her grandson, and forcing her way into the room where he was that they discovered he was, in fact, alive and crying. “He sounded like a little kitten.” Darlene chuckled at the memory, with a little humor and a lot of thankfulness.
Defying the odds, Jason made it through a lengthy stay in the NICU in Louisville, KY, over ten months of his life, and was released to go home and begin life with his family. When he was born, Jason weighed 1lb, 12oz, and when he was released nearly a year later he weighed 9lb, 8oz. Darlene recalled the living situation as “Slightly crowded. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment at the time, and Jason had several machines and tubes he was depending on for the first two years of his life.”
When Jason was five years old, his body suddenly “kick-started on its own”, and he began to enjoy life without being dependent on medical equipment to keep him going.
The story of Jason’s miraculous birth and start in life made the National Enquirer where he was known as “The Miracle Baby.”
While attending Graves County High School, during his sophomore year, Jason connected with the school resource officer, Officer Kelly Drew. Officer Drew said he met Jason because of a bullying issue that was happening, and he instantly developed a connection with this young man. They started doing weekend outings together, and sometimes with other people, as a group as well. A couple of the things that Jason enjoys, according to Officer Drew, are dirt bikes and weight lifting.
In fact, Jason was involved in the Operation Heartbeat Competition in Murray, KY., recently. This is one of many examples of his ability to defy the odds that were named against him at birth.
Despite being a man with a “Special Needs” label on his name, Jason has shown the world that he is, indeed, Special. In fact, he is amazing!
Jason loves sports. He is a strong fan of the Louisville football team. His most active hobby is the weightlifting, and he frequently attends the local YMCA to enjoy that hobby.
He never meets a stranger. Both Jason’s mother and Officer Drew speak highly of his social abilities. He loves to get to know new people and carry conversations with anyone he meets.
I recently had the privilege of speaking with Jason. His love for life is contagious. He is thankful for everything. He talked about how he enjoys spending every weekend with his grandmother and going to church every Sunday. He loves God. Jason gives God the glory for his life, and the amazing strides he has made from his birth to now.
Jason has a hero in Officer Kelly Drew, the Resource Officer at his high school who connected with him so long ago. Officer Drew is now a police officer with the Paducah Police Department. He said that Jason has done a few “ride-alongs” with him in the patrol car before and got to experience the life and work of our community’s finest. Jason also told me about his experiences in the patrol car. In fact, most of his fondest memories are adventures with his “best friend” as he referred to Officer Drew.
There are so many things that can be taken from the story of a life as amazing as Jason Yarborough’s. Not only was his birth an event of headlines, but his life since that birth has been victory, after victory over the situations, challenges, and voices that came against him.
When speaking with me, Officer Drew said, “Jason has often told me things that we need to hear, instead of what we want to hear. I have been reminded to be thankful for things I have taken for granted, just by listening to Jason talk about his dreams, and how he is thankful for the ability to do things we all take for granted.”
Jason Yarborough is not only the “miracle baby” that made headlines in the past. He is a man with talent, ambition, a big heart and bigger smile. Anyone who gets to know the man behind the smile will suddenly be a little happier and will have made a new friend for life. He has already taught me that we are more than the story someone has read about us. We are more than the face everyone sees.
If I could write a slogan, it would be “Live like Jason” because Jason not only lived… He lives to the fullest.