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Henry's Story: Surviving Shaken Baby Syndrome



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Nearly four and a half years later, A Hartford Family is trying to turn a tragedy into a triumph. Henry Johnson was a baby at the center of a court case after his daycare provider was accused of child abuse. Henry suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of Shaken Baby Syndrome, but unlike many children…Henry survived. Now, his family is on a mission to make sure their story isn't repeated...and that's what makes the Johnson family Someone You Should Know.

A bouncing ball of energy, 4-year-old Henry Johnson is nothing short of a miracle. When you meet Henry, his charming personality immediately wins you over. After brief introductions he grabs your hand to get a sense of who you are, and if you ask him to sing a song, it's enough to make your heart melt. But his little bits of conversation represent huge leaps and bounds.  When Henry was just 6 months old, his daycare provider was arrested after it was discovered Henry had suffered severe head trauma, very corner of his brain was damaged.  

Marissa Johnson, Henry’s mom says, “It's amazing to see him come up with new things now. He'll let us know, I want milk mommy…I mean that's huge, that's a big deal for us, that's what we celebrate.”

The lasting effects of the abuse are still evident; Henry is permanently blind and struggles with developmental delays. But new doors of opportunity open everyday for Henry. He sees around 7 different medical professionals each week, he's learning Braille and will be attending South Dakota's School For The Blind next year. And while Henry is still working to overcome obstacles; rather that focus on the negative, the Johnson's are doing their best to turn Henry's situation into something good. They've partnered up with the organization Child's Voice, to raise awareness and promote prevention.  This weekend, they're hosting the first ever “Henry's Run,” a 5K dedicated to spreading the word.

“We had hoped we could get 50 people walking, and right now we're at 100.  We'd like to see 150 people walking on Sunday, that would be really exciting,” says Monica Maurer with Child’s Voice at Sanford Medical Center.

And the goal is simple...

Marissa Johnson says, “Just to fight something this damaging and this horrible in a good positive way.”

It's a positive outlook, and a future for Henry that's getting brighter by the day.

Henry's Run will take place at Sertoma Park in Sioux Falls this Sunday at 9 a.m. The cost is $25 to enter. The money raised will go toward educating new parents about Shaken Baby Syndrome.
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