Maggie Hesling is only six months old — but already, she’s had to face more tragedy than most people will in an entire lifetime. Hesling’s father, mother, and four-year-old brother all died in a horrific car accident caused by a driver going the wrong way down a dark road. But the local community is doing all they can to help support little Maggie in one of the only ways they can: by helping to keep her fed.
Witnesses to the crash saw the head-on collision as it happened, and rushed to save the children as the car burst into flames. Their parents died instantly. “It was surreal. It was [worse than] anything that you could think of, even on a movie,” James Jackson, a former Georgia police officer, told WJXT. “I was able to get the 4-year-old out of the window. At that time, the flames were really, really high, coming from the vehicle. He was unresponsive and had shallow breathing and he was in and out of consciousness, but he had shallow, deep breaths and we just consoled him and took him away from the scene because it just became very violent with the nature of the flames in the vehicle.”
Jack Hesling made it to the hospital, but he didn’t survive. He, along with his parents Christopher and Brittany Hesling, died. Brittany’s best friend, Emily Burnside, knew she had to do something to try to help baby Maggie, so she took to Facebook, asking if any nursing mothers might be willing to donate breast milk, as Maggie had been exclusively breastfed. She received an overwhelming response: thousands of people responded, offering to give her some of their extra supply. “So, we have exceeded our goal and have two deep freezers full of Maggie’s milk,” Burnside told First Coast News. “We have been able to bless Maggie with a huge supply.” Others set up an Amazon wish list for diapers and wipes, which sold out in just minutes. A GoFundMe page set up for Maggie has had its goal exceeded numerous times.
In a Facebook post, Burnside shared pictures of Maggie receiving her first donor bottle, saying, “Brittany and Chris would be overjoyed to know how quickly the community has come together for their sweet baby girl.” And she said she plans to make sure Maggie knows how loved she was by her family. “I look forward to telling her stories about them, as well as Jack, and he only lived four years, but the four years he was here was so powerful to his family,” Burnside said. “So I want to let her know how much her big brother loved her.”
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