Jordon Hensley's Classmates Await Friend's Return

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Roane County (WVLT) -- No one knew the fatal school bus accident last Friday would mean a new heart for a Roane County 12 year old, but as fate would have it, Ashley Paine's death meant life for Jordon Hensley.

Those two girls who never met are forever joined and one school is at the center of that triangle, Cherokee Middle.

The story has many parallels.

A 12 year old donor who played basketball and lived in Tennessee turned out to be the perfect match for a 12 year old Tennessee girl who adores the sport.

As if that wasn't enough, it turns out the donor's brother attends the same school as the heart recipient.

On Friday afternoon, students fill the hallway at Cherokee Middle School, with one of their fellow students absent, Jordon Hensley.

"I feel like she's been away for a really long time," said Brianna Bingham, a 7th grader.

Jordon is recovering from a heart transplant after she was born with congenitally corrected transposition, a condition that means her heart works backwards.

"She was going through pain and suffering," said Morgan Snow, another 7th grader.

Students remember how sick Jordon had been.

"She wanted to be loved a lot and have a lot of attention because she didn't feel good," Snow said.

After several months of worrying, some of the schools students received a text messages saying Jordon had received a new heart.

"Oh my God, I can't believe she got a heart, I’m so excited for her," Snow remembered thinking.

It turned out to be the heart of Ashley Paine, the sister of one of their own classmates who was killed in the Oak Ridge school bus accident last week.

Teacher Rachel Vowell knew Ashley well and teaches Jordon.

She attended Ashley’s funeral Thursday night.

"It's the perfect thing to give her heart to Jordon,” said Vowell. “It’s the greatest gift you could give to anybody.”

That's not the only gift, classmates gathered over a $1,000 for Jordon's family during this difficult time.

"We're glad to help because the parents couldn't pay," Bingham said.
The student’s generosity made Cherokee Middle’s faculty very proud.

"It’s inspiring during this time of Thanksgiving to see what occurred and how the students reacted,” said Chris Johnson, Cherokee’s assistant principal.

Now students can't wait to see Jordon’s healthy smiling face around school.

She is planning a trip back to Cherokee in March if all goes well.

We will of course be there.

Meanwhile, Jordon is doing well in her recovery and hopes to move to the Ronald McDonald house by Thanksgiving and hopefully going home by Christmas.

If you'd like to help out the Hensley family, you can go to any Bank of America and submit a donation in Jordon Hensley's name.

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