Special celebration held for gravely ill Homer girl - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Special celebration held for gravely ill Homer girl

HOMER, LA (KSLA) - An ArkLaTex father fought back the tears on Friday night, as his gravely ill daughter was given the party of a lifetime. The bittersweet affair took place in Homer, and it was all thanks to the efforts of a grass roots organization aimed at helping others in need.

Jarmisha Critton's health problems all started with a mosquito bite four years ago.  That bite led to encephalitis and brain damage when she was just 7 months old.  Her very serious and complex medical problems have prevented her from enjoying so many of the things many of us take for granted every day.  Bringing some joy to Jarmisha was the goal of the gathering that brought together friends, family and neighbors to the Homer apartment complex where she lives with her family.

The celebration was part birthday party, part Christmas party and part prayer vigil for 5-year-old Jarmisha. Organizer Brenda Harris told the crowd, "I want to thank everyone for your support."

It was Jarmisha's father, Nicholas Critton, that turned to Harris for help with his daughter.  Harris is the founder of a grassroots community support group she calls "Chasing Greatness," aimed at helping others in need in the Homer area, like Jarmisha.

Nicholas Critton hopes at least some part of his daughter understands what this party was all about.  "She's not on the basic level like other kids.  But, you know, she's still here.  By the grace of God she's still here."

Doctors predicted Jarmisha would not survive past two years of age.  Then, it was three, then four.  She's now five years old.  And friends and family say every day is a blessing.

Donations from the community also helped pay for everything from the birthday cake to the presents.  Harris said she's grateful for all the help.

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