Jacob Q’s Story

Jacob Qua was an energetic, fun loving and rambunctious toddler and mom Heidi and dad David felt so blessed to have their second child. In 2004, when Jacob was only 2 ½ years old, the unthinkable happened; he fell from a third story window onto a concrete sidewalk.

During his ambulance ride to the hospital, Jacob had a seizure and the doctors immediately inserted an intra-cranial pressure device into his skull . It was determined that Jacob had suffered a traumatic brain injury, and in an instant, life for the Qua family was turned upside down.

Jacob spent 19 days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit on a ventilator and in a drug induced coma so his brain could heal with minimal movement. When Jacob stabilized, he was brought to Franciscan Children’s for intensive physical and cognitive rehabilitation. When he arrived to mend and rehabilitate the damage to his brain and body, Jacob was unable to speak and had lost some of his cognitive abilities. He was incredibly lethargic and acted much like a four-month-old for a while.

Jacob’s parents, Heidi and David, were by his side every step of the way. After three months of grueling specialized and intensive physical and occupational therapy, Jacob walked out of Franciscan Children’s and was able to go home –just four days before Christmas. Mom and dad couldn’t have asked for a better gift!

Ten years later and completely unrelated to his brain injury, Jacob developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a disorder that attacks the nervous system resulting in severe weakness and paralysis of the body. Once again, the Qua family turned to Franciscan Children’s to care for their son.

When he arrived at Franciscan Children’s for the second time, Jacob couldn’t move his lips or forehead, he couldn’t blink his eyes, and he couldn’t smile. His walking was incredibly unstable and he was unable to walk on his own. Jacob endured months of rehabilitation treatment and with time, courage and a lot of hard work, is now on the road to a full recovery.


“If something like this happens, there is no one you want on your team more than Franciscan Children’s” – David Qua, Jacob’s father.  

Today, Jacob is 15 years old and a high school freshman. While he eagerly plugs away at his schoolwork each day, he continues to struggle with the lasting effects of his brain injury and Guillain Barre Syndrome.

Despite his learning issues and daily battle with fatigue, Jacob is your average teenager. He loves the Bruins, all things baseball and enjoys playing video games.

“Like many teenagers Jacob often looks to the future, wondering what his will look like. We are certain that it will involve sports in some capacity. One thing we know for sure is that Jacob will be successful in anything he does, due largely in part to Franciscan Children’s and their help on his road to recovery. Even at his young age, Jacob has proven to be a hard worker who never gives up and will do all he can for anyone who asks.” – Heidi Qua, Jacob’s mother

Want to share your story? Send it our way to stories@franciscanchildrens.org.

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