August of 2020 would be the beginning of a life-changing event for Jarren Miller and his family.
His mother, Danielle, said that Jarren's journey started when he stepped off of the bus one day without doing something he does every afternoon.
"He came home from school off the bus and his normal self would be to give me a hug," Danielle said. "He went straight in the house, and I went after him and said, "What's wrong with you?" I immediately saw that he was red, so I got the thermometer, and he was 105."
Thinking it was Covid, Danielle rushed Jarren to urgent care.
"They checked him out, looked in the back of his throat, and didn't test him for anything but Covid," Danielle said. "They told me that I'd get the results back in three to five days, they sent me home and told me to alternate the Tylenol and Motrin and give him his anitbotics....that's what I did."
Danielle said she already had an appointment scheduled with Jarren's pediatrician for another issue for the next day, so she kept that appointment in hopes that they could give her some answers.
"I took him at 9:30 to his doctor appointment and she wrote us a doctor appointment to go back to school," Danielle said. "She said she didn't think he had Covid, that he didn't look like one of those people. But I wasn't sending him to school because I didn't have any results."
Danielle said that same week she and her family evacuated to Galveston because of Hurricane Laura. They rented a house and Jarren seemed to be in good spirits while they were there.
"We hung out inside of our little rental house all day, Jarren was running around playing, and I could see he was being his normal self," Danielle said. "We got there on Thursday and left on Saturday. We wanted to get a jump on it because we didn't know if there was any damage to our house."
It was that car ride home where Danielle realized that Jarren was not better; he was getting worse.
"We were driving home, and you know how kids like to pass gas, well we kept smelling this smell in the car and I told them to stop," Danielle said. "I have a three-row car and that's where he was sitting because he automatically went to the third row. He just put his head down and I asked him if he was ok and a nodded. We're driving home and suddenly the kids are telling me that it's pouring down his legs. He's got diarrhea all down his legs. I turn around and he's sitting in a puddle of it. He didn't say anything and as soon as we got home, I took his fever, and it was 105.7."
Danielle said she immediately started to give Jarren Tylenol and Motrin. She said they unloaded the car and she watched to see if the medication would start to help bring the fever down.
It did not.
She brought Jarren to the emergency room.
"And we sat there from 8:35pm to midnight," Danielle said. "They gave him some fluid's because they said he was dehydrated, looked at him, and said he had pink eye and possibly mono. I couldn't touch him, he bit me on my arm, because his whole body hurt. His legs were already turning blue."
They were sent home, again.
The next morning Danielle said Jarren was even worse.
"The next day I wake up and he's covered in blood all over his mouth," Danielle explained. "He has purple sores all over his body. His legs from the bottom of his feet to his ankles were turning purple and he was ice cold. He kept telling us that his whole body was hurting. I'm just like what do you want me to do? I called the ambulance and told them I needed more help."
The ambulance arrived and brought Jarren to Crowley.
From there he was taken to Lafayette and then air-med to New Orleans.
Streptococcal is what doctors finally diagnosed Jarren with--telling Danielle it was taking over her son's body.
Danielle said that she was told by two doctors that Jarren would not make it past 24 hours--but a third gave Danielle hope.
She said that doctor told her to give her 24 to 48 hours to save her son.
Danielle continued to pray.
Soon Danielle was tasked with a difficult decision.
"They noticed that the blue in his legs were turning purple and going to his torso," Danielle said. "He was so hard and called that they said you're about to have to make some hard decisions. They said that he was going to have to have his legs amputated. I didn't know if....I still thought there was hope because there was one nurse that could find some pulse in his feet. I was hanging onto that little piece of hope that even if his skin looks bad on the outside as long as the inside was flowing, we'd be OK. No. Everything was dead. Everything was rotted."
During all of this, Jarren was clueless as to what was happening around him.
Danielle said those first moments when he finally woke up were both exciting and heartbreaking all at the same time.
"He had no idea what happened," Danielle said. "I had to show him with a Teddy Bear what happened to him and then they wanted me to start helping him change his bandages so he could get used to his legs. He just stared at them in shock."
After weeks in the hospital, Jarren was finally able to go home.
Today, a year after the ordeal Jarren is better than ever, never skipping a beat.
"He is doing phenomenal" Danielle said. "I did not think that he would ever be where he is today after all of the stuff that he's been through. Every day is a constant reminder....he and I will sit in the bathroom, and he has all these scars on his body, and I'll say, "son, at least you know the past is real, right? Those are constant reminders that you made it through the struggle." He did. He overcame it and I'm super proud of him. I am."
Everyday Jarren overcomes obstacles as he gets more comfortable with doing things on his own, despite his friends' willingness to help.
"He's an amazing! All the kids want to help him and he's to the point now where he's more...way more independent," Pauline Bourne, Jarren's Kindergarten teacher, said. "He wants to do for himself, hops out of his chair and get his binder when it's time, and puts his homework away. Before someone was doing it for him. He does so much by himself now it's amazing. When we get to the cafeteria each day he hops out of his chair, gets on down the ramp and walks on through, tells them his lunch number, grabs his milk, and goes sit down. We get him his plate. He's come a long way."
As their family adjusts to this new normal, Danielle said they found hope in an unlikely place.
"Tik Tock has been our number one thing where they have a lot of people on there that I show him and say this is us, this is our life, this is what we'll have to do with you, and this is what you're going to have to do," Danielle said. "He loves it and accepts it. He doesn't let anything bother him. I follow two of them. There is one who slides out of his truck and slides all over the place, my son does that too. We see this other guy who shows him how to do everyday life, climb a ladder, walk i the woods and climbs steps. That's what he wants to do right now is climb on the bus by himself. The way the steps are on the bus, he's a little too short so all he can do is put his body on the steps, so I just have to watch."
While Jarren still has a way to go, he is proof that no matter what life throws your way, anything is possible if you keep moving forward.