BENTON, Ark. (KTHV) -- The screaming, the fighting, and the constant refereeing--parents with children know all about growing pains, especially when it comes to siblings. But, one brother and sister from Benton have had an entirely different type of growing pain, one they say has changed their lives forever.
The story seems like it came right out of fiction, written by a seasoned author with a big imagination.
He's going to be very sick, Maddy,' my mom said as she clutched the steering wheel. I felt my stomach churn as we pulled into the parking lot of Children's Hospital.
It is suspenseful, intense yet poetic.
This is fourteenth time he's laid on the stiff hospital sheets. The fourteenth time they've hooked the IV to the vein in his pale hand. The fourteenth time he's watched our mom cry and the fourteenth time he watched our dad pray over him before they take him back.
But the author is only in high school and her story is far from fiction. It's her life.
Jacob is my fourteen year old little brother. He was born with a cleft lip, cleft palate.
Madison Lowe published her column, 'Growing From the Pain" in her school newspaper at Bryant High School. It is a snapshot of her brother's life-long fight to repair a cleft lip and palate he had since birth.
"It deserved to be in the paper. Somebody to hear that you know people go through that, and people can relate to it, and that's what I guess columns are about. They are supposed to be relatable," said Madison.
"I actually started tearing up. It meant a lot to me, just to know that she cared about me that much which I already knew, but it's just touching to see she put it in an article about me," said Jacob.
Jacob has endured fourteen surgeries and still has two more to go, each time with his big sister Madison by his side.
"If you go through a lot of things or if you go through a lot of experiences, you eventually get used to it so it's not anything new to me these surgeries. Most aren't as lucky as me, to have it all fixed and everything and to look the way I am and I'm just really happy about my surgeries and I'm very thankful," said Jacob.
Their mother, Tarzah Shaw said the experience of growing through Jacob's pain has brought her two children closer than she could have ever imagined.
"I cried when I read it. I knew she was a good writer. She's written books, chapter books on the computer. She's really into poetry, and I have read her columns, and she has several but this one is very, very touching," said Shaw.
"I wanted people to know that there are people that are different, and it's not always a bad thing," said Madison.
"She helped a lot. She was there after every surgery that she could be and just thankful for her. I'm glad she's here," said Jacob.
It is a story of strength and perseverance, a brother and sister growing together from their pain.
Bandaging across his cheeks, dried blood crusted on his mouth corners. Tears filled my eyes. Never had I seen my brother so sick. "Jake, what's it like? I mean, how do you feel about your cleft?" He looked over at me, a smile stretching across his cheeks. I think it's made me who I am. It's made me stronger, he said. I wouldn't change it. I wouldn't change anything.
Jacob will have two more surgeries when he turns 17 to repair his nose and jaw and Madison plans to be there for them both.
You can read Madison's full article 'Growing from the Pain' by clicking here.