Anyone who was alive in 1987 will probably remember the name Jessica McClure.
And even if you’re a bit rusty on the name, you’ll definitely remember the story of the toddler who fell down a well, sparking a media frenzy. The internationally renowned predicament led to collective support from the public, and a huge team of rescuers intent on retrieving the child and bringing her to safety.
Well, 30 years on, Jessica is a McClure no longer. She is now Jessica Morales and while her story sounds like a devastating one; in actual fact, it’s nothing short of inspirational and utterly heartwarming.
Jessica fell 22-feet down the well not far from her aunt’s home in Midland, Texas. Against all odds, she survived the fall, and became the face of one of 1987’s most explosive news stories.
These days, she has little to no memory of the terrifying event, stating in an interview, “I had God on my side that day. My life is a miracle”.
Of course Jessica was only 18 months old at the time so it’s no wonder she has little recollection of the events which unfolded after the near-fatal fall.
Jessica later explained to NBC in 2007 that the earth-shattering ordeal “couldn’t cage me then, why should it cage me now?”
In the aftermath of her 22-foot fall, millions of ordinary people from all corners of the globe prayed for her safety and kept themselves updated on various news channels. It was a story of perseverance, love and cooperation. It truly brought the nation together.
Dozens of workers worked tirelessly to get the child out of the well, and eventually they did.
When Jessica was brought to safety, it emerged that the vulnerable infant had lost a toe to gangrene which she contracted whilst inside the well.
She also developed scars on her face as a result of the falls, and years later was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
“It seems a little surreal,” she said. “In some ways, it seems familiar and recent. Other times, it seems like someone else a long time ago.”
Now, Jessica is 30 years old, a married woman and a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful children.
In 2006, she became Jessica Morales when she tied the knot with Danny Morales. The couple went on to have two kids: Simon, who is now 11, and Sheyenne, aged seven.
In 2002, she told the Ladies Home Journal that she had grown “bored” of retelling the story of her rescue. She also revealed in spite of that, she was fond of the remaining scars.
“I’m proud of them,” she said. “I have them because I survived.”
The ordeal made her realize that when she had her own kids, “bumps and bruises” were nothing to become hysterical about. Especially considering she had survived an awful situation which could quite easily have become a tragedy.
“I’m hoping my children learn from [my rescue] to always be humble,” Jessica said.
“And to remember that if you look hard enough, there are so many good people in this world,” she added.
Jessica is a braver person than most. While the fact remains that she has little recollection of the troubling events, toddlers are still very vulnerable to developing traumatic memories. Jessica, however, bounced back and became a stronger person because of what she went through.
We wish Jessica Morales, and her family the very best for their futures.