The threat of rain didn’t stop the Aledo community from throwing down the red — or pink — carpet for local celebrity Jessie Hall Saturday night. The 6-year-old made national headlines earlier this summer when she underwent surgery removing the right half of her brain in an effort to cure her of Rasmussen’s Encephalitis.

Jessie’s symptoms, mostly constant seizures, began about a year ago. Her parents, Cris and Kristi Hall, kept family, friends and strangers updated on Jessie’s progress through the family blog.

From as far as Iraq and Ireland, people watched as Jessie and her parents went to Baltimore for her surgery at Johns Hopkins, saw photos of her recovery and physical therapy and rejoiced as she returned to Texas.

So far, Cris said, Jessie has amazed her therapists, and the family couldn’t have asked for better results.

“It’s been a roller coaster of every emotion you can imagine,” Cris said. “We didn’t know if we’d have our daughter a year ago now ... We’ve gone full circle. The journey’s a long way from over. She still has years and years of therapy, [but] she’s already blowing the therapists away with what she’s been able to do. The leg you see moving, her arm that’s moving — those are supposed to be controlled by a part of the brain that’s not there anymore.”

To prove her father’s point, Jessie spent much of the night walking hand-in-hand with her mom. Before the surgery, there was a risk Jessie’s left side would be left immobile.

To welcome the soon-to-be first-grader home in style, friends from the community, nick-named “Jessie’s Angels,” threw her a welcome-home bash.

From Mrs. Baird’s Bread to the Aledo Fire Department, Bearcat cheerleaders to Weatherford Regional executives, it seemed everyone was donating time or goods for the Hall family.

“I fell in love with Jessie and her family,” said Denise Romine, wife of WRMC CEO Donnie Romine. “We felt that the hospital could do something to help.”

Volunteers from WRMC made peach juleps and donated the proceeds to the Hall’s Hemispherectomy Foundation.

The Hemi Foundation is Cris and Kristi’s way of giving something back to the community. They created the non-profit organization to help other families and to raise awareness about Rasmussen’s. Already, more than 50 children have signed up with the foundation.

Cris has heard from a family in Ireland with a daughter Jessie’s age who is facing a hemispherectomy, and a woman in California who underwent the surgery more than 30 years ago, and who has been searching ever since for others who shared her experience.

Cris and Kristi thanked everyone at the celebration for their support for Jessie and the foundation she inspired.

“You guys have helped us set something up that’s going to hopefully last forever, or until they find a cure for this terrible disease,” Cris told the crowd Saturday night. “Everyone’s heard that God never gives you more than you can handle. God did give us more than we could handle, but let me explain what I mean. I don’t mean that in a bad way. The people of Parker County were there for Jessie, Kristi and our whole family ... every one of you are Jessie’s Angels. Thank you.”

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