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Sick Child Gets Trip to See ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ Show

October 27, 1988

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) _ A 7-year-old girl whose doctors ″just sent her home to die″ at birth will visit Hollywood next month and attend a taping of her favorite television program.

Jessica Tootle can’t wait to leave with her family on Nov. 5, her mother, Teresa, said Tuesday. ″She is rambunctious and full of energy right now.″

At birth, Teresa Tootle said, half of Jessica’s heart had not formed properly and her lungs did not function as they should.

Her physical problems seemed insurmountable and doctors ″just sent her home to die,″ she said, adding that one doctor gave the child only two hours to live.

By the time she was 5 months old, Jessica had survived three major heart operations, a lung operation, pneumonia, a stroke and partial paralysis, her mother said.

But Jessica has thrived and somehow along the way developed an intense liking for the popular ″Wheel of Fortune″ game show starring Pat Sajak and Vanna White.

Now, thanks to her grandmother and the National Starlight Foundation of Los Angeles, an organization that grants special wishes of terminally or chronically ill children, Jessica and her family will be able to see Vanna turn the letters in person on Nov. 10.

″She loves the show,″ Teresa Tootle said. ″When someone wins, she will come running and screaming, ‘They won, they won.’ I don’t know what it is.″

While in California, the family also will visit Disneyland.

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