By Cora Beyer
Look at Jenna Kehoe.
Standing at five feet six inches, golden curls falling neatly, and bright blue eyes that shine like spotlights.
Her radiant smile lights up the room, as she exudes care and bravery.
Standing next to her, always glued to her side, is a mirror image of herself.
Hailey Kehoe holds the same warmth and identical curls frame her face.
The sisters are never seen apart, almost like creating two halves of a whole.
However, this perfect bond was almost broken four years ago when Jenna sat clutching her sister’s hand as she struggled on a hospital bed.
The moment that changed Jenna Kehoe’s life occurred at the most unlikely of times--a basketball game.
Still excited from her game, Jenna quickly deflated as she came home to hear that Hailey, her twin sister and “partner in crime,” had been taken to the hospital after being found on the bathroom floor.
Kehoe didn’t realize how monumental Feb. 9, 2013 would become as she sat with her brother and parents, waiting to hear an update on Hailey Kehoe’s condition.
“I didn’t know what to think,” sophomore Jenna Kehoe said. “I thought that she would be okay. She would come back a day after and be fine.”
The family soon learned that Hailey suffered from a brain condition called arteriovenous malformation that had most likely been present since birth.
According to the American Stroke Association, an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is “a tangle of blood vessels in the brain or on its surface that bypasses normal brain tissue and directly diverts blood from arteries to the veins.”
The day that Hailey was found on the floor of the bathroom the AVM had caused damage to the brain.
Jenna was white faced and terrified as the doctors explained how unlikely it was that her sister would survive. She didn’t think it would be possible to live without her.
Jenna Kehoe stayed by her sister’s side through the whole experience, holding her hand and speaking comforting words in her ear.
Against all odds, Hailey persevered through this nightmare. She made it through, waking up to see Jenna’s waiting blue eyes.
After spending almost a year in the hospital, helping Hailey recover, Jenna’s outlook on life completely changed.
“You can’t change what life gives you,” Jenna Kehoe said. “It was one of those things that you have to make the best of.”
The Kehoes were also surrounded with support from the communities around them. The twins played soccer at the time and the team rallied around them, making wristbands with Hailey’s name and number on them and shouting cheers for Hailey before each game.
“The twins were always together and it was weird when it was only Jenna practicing with us as Hailey watched,” former teammate and sophomore, Esperanza Treviño, said. “It was all so sudden and surprising.”
The Kehoe family’s experiences have opened many new doors for them, as they are now heavily involved in organizations such as the Children’s Miracle Network. They attend telethons and radiothons to continue to help the community that supported them through Hailey’s recovery.
“The people at the Children’s Miracle Network are like a second family to us,” Jenna Kehoe said. “We love to give back to them because they gave us so much.”
Jenna is also always thrilled to dress up for the organization’s “Miracle Ball,” where she and Hailey dance and tell their story each year.
After the whirlwind that she has been through over the past four years, Jenna Kehoe has come out with new insight of the world around her.
“Even though something hurts, you shouldn’t push it away,” Jenna Kehoe said. “You shouldn’t let it go, but become a better person because of it.”
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