Lufkin student goes from death's doorsteps to back in the classroom

Lufkin student goes from death's doorsteps to back in the classroom
Source: Amy Hebert
Source: Amy Hebert
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Five months ago, Amy Hebert wasn't sure her child would leave the hospital.

In April, her son Case Holland was admitted into Texas Children's Hospital for an extreme case of Pneumonia.

"The bacteria in his lungs was basically chewing away at his lung tissue. It got to where he didn't have any lungs at all," Hebert said.

Case would go from just being in the hospital to fighting for his life.

"I always tried to stay positive," Hebert said. "The doctors probably thought I was crazy and were thinking, 'She is not getting it.' I kept thinking we're going to get through this. We're going to work through it. One day the doctor set me down and said we need to talk. They said If this does not work we will have no choice but to turn off the life support machine. It was very, very real that he might not make it."

Case would be hooked to multiple machines with lights and sounds that Hebert would call his Christmas tress. Three different times, Case would be switched onto different life support machines. Each time was more stressful for mom.

"If his little body could not breath on its own for those thirty seconds then he would have died," Hebert said.

While he was in the hospital, multiple friends and family members traveled from Lufkin to see him.

"I wasn't sure they were going to let me in because I was not family," Case's teacher Tina Luna said. "When I went in there and saw him on the bed, that was not him. It was shocking. It was heart breaking. I just broke for his mom and family."

As the hospital stay got tougher, Hebert would reach out to friends on social media.

"I didn't want anyone to see him like he was," Hebert said. "I just closed myself off in his room. It got to where I was repeating the same prayer over and over again. I was like, "Okay God you know my heart" I have nothing left to say. I started sharing photos and posts and asking for prayers and I would just see notifications come in of who was responding it was amazing."

As the prayers kept rolling in, Case would slowly improve and the family was given news that they would be going home.

"We wanted to be out by July 4th so we could go to the fireworks," Hebert said. "We got out a whole month early. It was a sign from God that everything was going to be okay.

At the beginning of August, Case would have the trach removed from his throat.

"He was a little shy to have it at first, but it served his purpose," Hebert said. "We are still doing physical therapy here in town and he is regaining his strength. He is going to get to be a normal boy. When we were in Houston I thought I was going to be bringing a sick child home and have to prepare for a a life where he always had someone taking care of him."

On a normal afternoon, Case can be found with his friends and family either watching Batman on Netflix or playing sports in the yard.

"The doctors said he is able to be normal and that in a few years his body will be completely healed. He may not be able to be a track superstar or run a marathon but he will be able to play football and other sports."

If you ask Case what he wants to do he will tell you with a big smile that he wants to play for Coach Todd Quick and the Lufkin Panthers. Case even made it a point to be at the Panther's first home game last week where they knocked off their rivals from Longview.

Luna has seen the progress Case has made and gets emotional thinking about how close her student was to dying.

"It's a miracle," Luna said. "That's the only words to describe it because he was knocking on death's door."

Case could not tell you who all visited him in the hospital or how long he was in a comma,or as he calls it asleep, but he can tell you how he is ready to be a kid again and just have fun.

His mother is hoping others can read his story and find a message of hope.

"I don't want it to just be about holding onto the life you have," Hebert said. "I want it to be also that in hard times always be able to lean on God and have that faith that everything happens for a reason and that good can always come out of something terrible."

Hebert said so many people have reached out to the family to see Case so there is an event planned for the community to welcome him home. The event will be on Sept. 17 from 10 until noon at Lufkin ER.

You can follow Case's journey here.

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