“What they gave us is life. There aren’t words to say thank you for that.”
-- Parson’s mom, Jennifer
From the moment she was born, Parson Blue Herrington had to fight for every breath. At first, her doctors in Lufkin were confident that she’d be okay, that her breathing problems were a temporary complication.
But Parson’s struggle to breathe continued, and her parents, Jennifer and Rodney, didn’t really know what they were up against until her first respiratory crisis sent them to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Weeks of testing followed, and that’s when they finally learned that Parson has a rare genetic condition that affected the development of her lungs. One was overinflated like a balloon in danger of popping; the other had limited function.
Parson would need a lung transplant to survive. When another terrifying and life-threatening crisis occurred when she was seven months old, Texas Children’s patient transport specialists, the Kangaroo Crew, arrived to rush her again—this time by air ambulance—to Houston and our doctors.
Luckily, little Parson is a true fighter. She fought for her life on that pre-dawn flight, and she just kept fighting. But thankfully, she didn’t have to do it alone. She had a whole team at Texas Children’s fighting right along beside her and her parents—and helping them through the agonizing wait they had to endure before a transplant was possible.
Jennifer and Rodney marveled at the care she—and their whole family—received. Jennifer recalled how Dr. George Mallory, Parson’s beloved pulmonologist, would sit for hours at her bedside, adjusting her ventilator so she could breathe easier.
And then, it finally happened. Just a month before her first birthday, Parson received her new lungs—and with them, a second chance at life.
Parson continues to receive ongoing care and monitoring of her condition. Because her transplant puts her at risk for infection, her dedicated care team saw her a few weeks ago through an eHealth clinic appointment—one of the many ways Texas Children’s is meeting the needs of its patients in the midst of a pandemic.
Today, Parson is a spunky seven-year-old with sparkling eyes that light up the room and the most infectious laugh you’ll ever hear. She has a dream to become a UPS driver (see sidebar) when she grows up, and she loves karaoke and dancing.
She’s so full of life that it’s easy to forget that it took all the fight she had and the extraordinary capabilities of Texas Children’s Hospital to save her life. But it’s not something her family will ever forget. “Texas Children’s was with us in our darkest hour,” Jennifer says, “and we are blessed to be able to celebrate and share Parson’s special moments with them now. We owe them so much. We are so grateful.”
More About Parson
Parson is a star!
According to her mom, Jennifer, Parson has been “absolutely eaten up alive with loving UPS” since she was about three. “One day, the UPS truck pulled up and the driver was a lady. Well, that was a game changer day for Parson.”
That driver is Tammy Patrick, and she and Parson had an instant connection. “She stole my heart, and we became best friends right away,” she said. Parson and Tammy recently appeared on NBC’s “Little Big Shots,” where Tammy announced that UPS had made a very special $10,000 donation to Texas Children’s Hospital in her honor.
View a short version of the “Little Big Shots” episode here.
The Herringtons give back to Texas Children’s
One of the things that UPS driver Tammy delivers to Parson and her family on a regular basis are books—lots and lots of books! That’s because a few years ago, Parson’s family decided they wanted to find a way to express their appreciation to Texas Children’s for the wonderful care she received.
Books played a big role in Parson’s recovery, so establishing the Parson Blue Book Club seemed like a no-brainer. They created an Amazon Prime Wish List, and books ordered through it are delivered to the Herringtons’ home. They also set up two donation centers in their hometown of Jasper. During the holidays, Parson and her family deliver the books to Texas Children’s.
“It’s a small return for what they’ve given to us,” says Jennifer.