Jacqueline Patton dreams about the walk down the aisle at church. The walk collecting the offering. To her spot in the choir. To the church office where she volunteered as secretary. Standing on her two feet in praise. Walking into her job at a pediatrician’s office, where her face and voice as receptionist were a signature for hundreds of families.
Except now, this mother of two and grandmother of two cannot walk like she once could. She has just one foot. Circulatory disease took her right foot and leg to above the knee. At 44, Patton has to figure out how to live the rest of her life.
And now her family, her friends and her church are rallying to raise $11,000 or more to help pay for the prosthetic leg Patton needs to walk again.
“When the doctor told me they had to take my foot, and then half of my leg, it threw me for a loop,” Patton said. “But this is the next walk in my life. I will make it. I can do it.
“I call it my ‘new walk,’ and I will walk that new walk.”
In June, on vacation from her job at Palmetto Pediatrics, Patton started to feel dizzy. What seemed to be a blood pressure problem ended up a circulatory problem so severe that, after so many trips to the hospital, there was no choice but for surgeons to amputate her foot. But her leg did not heal, so in December a second surgery took her leg.
Patton admits that the time was “scary,” and she did not know how she would recover.
“I was in shock; we all were,” said husband James Patton, a meat cutter at a Rock Hill Bi-Lo grocery store. “She was active one day, and then so fast she had one leg to stand on.”
Patton’s family immediately rallied to help. Her mother, sister, father, cousins, uncle – all pitched in at her home outside Rock Hill, on the way to McConnells. A wheelchair ramp was built. Her family takes care of the housheold chores and helps her with medical needs. Co-workers, even some patients from her job, have helped.
“If it wasn’t for my family and all the love and support I have received from them and others, I would have given up a long time ago,” Patton said. “My family and God.”
But Patton’s self-proclaimed new walk back to being able to work and live a somewhat normal life will cost money. Prosthetics – the building of a new leg, the fitting of a new leg – is an expense no one ever expects to bear.
An auction fundraiser last week at Rose of Sharon Baptist Church raised about $2,000, and Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Chester, where Patton worked as secretary, is hosting a “Gospel Celebration” to raise more this Saturday. There will be singing and praise and a hope that Patton can look forward to her new walk – and not backward toward her leg being amputated.
“I am so very grateful to people who are helping me,” Patton said. “I always tried to help people all my life. The patients at my job, I gave them my cellphone number so they could call for support when their kids were sick, or had serious medical problems, just like I have now.
“I believed I was helping people, kids, families, heal. And now I am getting that back.”
Incredibly, Patton and her husband and the rest of her family refuse to dwell on a leg that is gone. All plan to walk down the center aisle at Cedar Grove Baptist Church, and to say to all in attendance that it is not what is gone from your body, but what was gained in the spirit.