Jeri came into the world on April 17, 1971, struggling to survive. She was turned over to the State at birth, never getting to know her birth parents. When she was 2 1/2 months old, she underwent open heart surgery while in foster care. Jeri was born with a Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR), which is a rare congenital malformation, in which all four pulmonary veins do not connect normally to the left atrium. Instead of the four pulmonary veins drain abnormally to the right atrium (right upper chamber) by way of an abnormal (anomalous) connection.
At the age of 21, Jeri found herself battling a blood clot in her upper thigh resulting from a vascular blockage. Fortunately, this time she was able to be treated with medications and aside from having a catheter procedure to locate the blockage, did not require any additional surgery.
Because Jeri was so small at the time of her surgery, her drain tube had to be located in her back. As a result she was left with a deep scar, that almost looks like a fold in her left rear side. She says now that she hardly thinks about it, but notes that during her teenage years she was bullied and made fun of while attending swim parties or going to the beach.
Jeri states that one of the problems she faces having never known either of her biological parents is that whenever she is examined, when she is asked for a family medical history, she has no idea how to respond other than to say, “I don’t know.”
Today, Jeri works as an engineer for a major company. She enjoys working in clay, participating in her dance troupe and spends time writing and carrying for her pets.