Laura Riggs was the happy mother of 3 daughters, Alyssa, Kelsey, and Adyson, when to her delight she found out she was pregnant with her first son. Jaxon was born just 3 days before Christmas 2014. Unfortunately, Jaxon would not be home for Christmas—he was born 10 weeks early and only weighed 3 pounds, 13 ounces. He spent his first 6 weeks of life in the hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
The time was challenging for the whole family. Laura is an underwriter for consumer loans at Y12 Federal Credit Union and her husband, James, is a plant manager and machine operator for National Custom Printing. While James continued to work full time to support the family, Laura split her time between her 3 girls and being at the NICU with her newborn son. Laura would go to the NICU when her older daughters were at school as long as she could get someone to watch her 3 year old, or she would go to the hospital at night after the girls were in bed just to spend a few hours with Jaxon.
Laura was finally able to bring Jaxon home on January 31, 2015, but she also brought home a bill for over $100,000. At the hospital, Laura applied to get him TennCare. After numerous conversations with hospital staff, TennCare, and other agencies, Jaxon was approved for TennCare, but the start date of his coverage was not what Laura had originally been told, leaving Jaxon without health care coverage for most of his hospital stay. Laura refused to give up. She knew that TennCare should be covering the bill and filed an appeal.
In May 2015, with a hearing coming up, she called TJC for help. TJC was able to help Laura understand Jaxon’s rights and effectively communicate with TennCare to fix the issue. With TJC’s guidance, Laura was able to get Jaxon’s hospital bills fully covered, freeing the family of 6 from the burden of crushing medical debt.
Laura said TJC’s “assistance and encouragement definitely helped get my family through that difficult time. They provided resources that would help, and showed that they care about the families that they work with.”
After coming home from the hospital, it was clear that Jaxon’s development was delayed a few months, and he may have had vision or hearing issues due to his premature birth. With the help of his family and access to health care, he has progressed quickly. Even his NICU nurses are impressed with his progress when he visits every few months.
Jaxon is now 14 months old and is as healthy as can be! He is meeting all of his current milestones and he is starting to try to walk. Jaxon enjoys being outside, taking baths, eating, and being loved on. He is very affectionate and enjoys playing with his sisters. Laura says, “The best part of my afternoons is watching the girls dance around and play with Jaxon. The sound of their laughter is worth every difficult time we had during his first 6 weeks of life.”
For her tireless dedication to her four children, TJC celebrates Laura, one of our Mothers of the Year.