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Thanksgiving Surprise For Arlington Teen Battling West Nile Virus

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) - TangoTab is a website that helps fight hunger. When the website asked its users who they thought most needed a thanksgiving dinner, an anonymous e-mail suggested someone everyone else had forgotten.

“It is absolutely amazing, these families stories,” Marketing and Community Manager Nick Marino said about the 12 entries they decided to serve on Thanksgiving. “And Ebonie’s story with Jordan is just heart wrenching.”

When Marino delivered his trays full of Thanksgiving food to Ebonie Conner’s apartment, he was fortunate. Her 15-year old daughter Jordan was feeling well enough to be out of bed and sitting at the kitchen table. Jordan Conner has a rare strain of West Nile Virus. She’s already been in a coma once, has been in and out of the hospital and sometimes loses feeling in her extremities. And she demands her mother Ebonie’s constant attention.

Because of the effects of the virus on Jordan’s brain, often her mother doesn’t even know how Jordan will answer one simple question: “Do you know who I am?” Ebonie said holding back tears. “There are parts of her life…that she doesn’t remember. Like major things.”

“You are grateful for the day, you know?” Ebonie said of the daily fight against the symptoms. “Fighting means you’re still in it. But sometimes it just feels like you’re losing it, you know?”

“Rolls gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce,” Marino said as he ticked off the list of things he’d brought for the family to eat.

They are the simple elements of Thanksgiving dinner. But they are the elements that for one day allow the Conners to put aside the hardships of the west nile virus and the crushing medical bills that come with them.

“I got less than ten dollars to my name,” Ebonie said in hushed tones as Jordan returned to bed after the visitors left. “I don’t know what we’ll do. I can’t tell her that.  So, if they didn’t show up I would just think — I’d probably be at the point of hopelessness. I don’t know. Every day I look for a miracle. That meal was our miracle.”

Conner has started an online petition to raise awareness about the severity of West Nile Virus’s effects.

You can also donate to the “Conner Family Trust Fund” at any Chase Bank location (routing# 111000614 account# 425367278) or Woodhaven Bank location.

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