A little girl who had half her brain removed as a baby after her father violently shook her is proving nothing can stop her three years later.
Cheyenne Rae, from South Carolina, was just eight-months-old in 2012 when her father, James Davis Jr, 28 at the time, shook her violently when she did not stop crying. The violence cracked Cheyenne’s skull and caused bleeding on the brain. Doctor’s told her mother Amy Owensby that her baby girl would most likely die.
“I dropped my happy, healthy eight-month-old baby girl off with her dad for the night,” she wrote on Facebook, describing the horrific day that crippled her.
“An hour and a half later, I got the call that changed my life forever.
“My sweet baby wasn’t breathing. Her heart had stopped and she was being airlifted to Greenville Memorial.”
The extent of Cheyenne’s injuries were so severe that her mother wasn’t even allowed to touch her after the incident because it would cause brain activity that could kill her. Despite all odds, Cheyenne was released from hospital a month later; a miracle for those around her.
“My sweet baby wasn’t breathing…”
“I am BEYOND proud of her strength, determination & just how far she’s come already. She proves Dr’s wrong time afterher that she can’t & she’ll show you that she WILL. My miracle baby,” her mother posted on Facebook.
Now three years on from the incident and after numerous surgeries, therapy sessions and court dates, Cheyenne is able to talk and walk like other girls her age.
On Monday Owensby proudly posted to the Prayers for Cheyenne Rae Facebook page, where she posts fun photos of her lively 3-year-old daughter for almost 200,000 followers:
“Happy Survivor Day my beautiful baby! 3 years since Cheyenne was shaken by her dad. 3 years since I was told she wouldn’t live through the night. 3 years since her heart stopped. 3 years since she had half her brain removed. 3 years since our lives changed forever. So very blessed that she’s still here with me, proving miracles do happen. Mommy loves you Cheyenne Rae!”
Her mother said she struggles daily from the effects of what was done to her as a baby. Because the four-year-old does not have a brain on the left side, it hinders the control of her right foot and hand.
“She can’t hold a baby doll and her cup at once, she has to choose which she would rather hold at that moment because one hand isn’t working,’ Ms Owensby wrote on Facebook in May.
“We’ve had many breakdowns in the shoe aisle where we’re both crying because the shoes she wants, won’t stay on her ballerina foot.”
Owensby said optic nerve damage caused by the blood behind her brain after she was shaken means she has to look at thing two inches away from her face. “Watching her struggle so hard to do what the kids around her are doing, and my heart breaking a little more each time she can’t,” she continued.
Davis, a truck driver at the time of the incident, plead guilty to felony child abuse inflicting great bodily injury, and Circuit Judge Derham Cole imposed the maximum 20-year sentence, suspended upon the service of 10 years and 5 years of probation. Davis said he suffers from guilt after shaking his daughter when he “snapped,” according to The Spartanburg Herald-Journal.
As Cheyenne Rae continues to blossom and love life she will still need to have two more surgeries, her mother said.
Owensby wants to raise awareness of the damage that can be done by shaking an infant or young child and causing immeasurable and irreversible damage in moments of rage.
“It only takes a few seconds to change things forever,” Owensby told WYFF4. “A few seconds of frustration and anger to cause the unthinkable. I had heard about shaken baby syndrome and always thought ‘that will never happen to me.’
But clearly, it did. It happens way more often than I ever imagined and that needs to be known.”