By: Morgan Pauley

Jessica Acton is a sophomore here at Hardin Northern. She enjoys karate and music. Jessica also has a rare disorder called Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis. Jessica’s mother, Jayme Acton said, “There are only around 3000 people who have this disease, we immediately thought there is no way my child is one of them.” It causes occasional episodes of muscle weakness and sometimes lower than normal level potassium in the blood. The symptoms include attacks of muscle weakness or loss of muscle movement. The attacks usually appear in the teens, which is the case for Jessica. It is not just physical, but it also takes a mental toll on Jessica, she will get really tired or weak after an attack.

On Saturday, October 15, Columbus was alive with 18,000 runners for Nationwide Children’s marathon. The hospital chose 26 different patients and gave them each a mile in the race. The patient champions got to choose the theme of the mile. Jessica was chosen to be mile 10. Her mile was themed karate. Many of the runners gave Jessica gifts, hugs, or words of encouragement. Jayme Acton said, “Words could just never express the gratitude we have for all of these people. They give us hope. Their donations and money raised not only gives very sick children like Jess life saving care but they give families like ours hope, that one day she may be cured all because someone we may not even know, chose to give.”  

Jessica will continue to fight her disease with the help of her family and service dog, Puck. Jessica has the support of her classmates and family. Jayme Acton said, “ We have learned that every moment counts, good or bad. That we take life one day at a time, the good with the bad. Nothing is more important than family.”