From her first bone marrow operation at age 3 to her recent kidney transplant, Dani Jones, a sophomore at Dreher High School in Columbia, has been fighing an uphill battle to live a “normal” life like a Tour de France cyclist in the final leg or a tired boxer in the 12th round. A lifetime of jumping over hurdles and obstacles has made this 15-year-old girl a stronger person with a big heart and dreams to match.
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- “My life has always been difficult,” Dani said. “For as long as I can remember, I have been in and out of the hospital because of illnesses and other issues.”
The adversity Jones has dealt with her whole life hasn’t made her a bitter person, but a kind understanding one.
According to Cpl. Ryan Fackey, a plane captain with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 and Jones’ kidney donor. Her big smile and willingness to hug can convince anyone everything is alright.
“Growing up, I always knew things could be worse,” Jones said. “I don’t have it worse than anyone else; my problems are just different from theirs.”
Despite her childhood turmoil and problems, Jones has always looked toward a brighter future. Believing in today’s technology and healthcare, she has been painting a vivid picture like Picasso for her future plans.
“I always wanted to open up my own salon,” Jones said. “I also want to go to college, I want to get married and have a family. I’ve always been looking forward to things like that, regardless of what the doctors say.”
Jones’ high hopes in the face of adversity may also stem from her deep religious roots. In a day and age where religious talk is looked at as a taboo, Jones is not afraid to praise and give thanks to whom she sees fit.
“From day one, we have turned to God to make a way for our family,” said Paula Wilson, Jones’ mother. “Our family is very religious and believes God will make a way when things get bad.”
Jones said, she thanks God for everything he has done in her life
No matter what problem gets thrown her way, Jones plans to knock it out of the park like Sammy Sosa in a home run derby and continue to live her life.
“I’m going to keep looking forward and overcoming obstacles,” Jones said. “I have big goals in my future, and I plan on accomplishing them no matter what.”