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New Haven family hosting fundraiser for inspiring appendix amputee


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A teenager who had her life turned upside down is now determined to thrive in the face of adversity. It’s a set back that would cause most of us to stop smiling, but Jalyn Hunter has continued to smile despite losing her arms and legs.

“How do you explain to a 16-year-old that they’re getting ready to take all these things from you,” Tiant Ellison Coardes, Hamden.

Jalyn Hunter is a student at Highville Change Academy in New Haven and passionate dancer. But her normal routine was flipped upside down April 1st.

An infection around her appendix turned septic. She was put in a medically induced coma and within weeks her loved ones were preparing for the worst.

“I can remember the doctors coming in and saying to me, I’m sorry, but we lost her,” Tiant Ellison Coardes, Hamden.

But this resilient dancer pulled through.

“We were kind of dealing with a situation at that point: life over limbs. That quickly,” Tiant says.

The girl who spent nearly five years dancing with her two best friends at Hamden Academy of Dance and Music had to have both hands and legs amputated.

“It being summer, me being 16 [years old] and wanting to do stuff; I’ve been locked up in the hospital,” Jalyn Hunter, enduring the long months at Yale New Haven Hospital.

The doctors and nurses in the pediatric surgery unit say Jalyn inspires them. Jalyn says her speedy recovery is due to her two best friends, who spend nights sleeping at the hospital with her.

“It took a toll on us at first. But to be around her, how happy she is,” Alaina Suggs, 15.

“It’s important for us to be here so she has support and we have support as well,” Kayla Philpotts, 16.

Her best friends were here even when Jalyn was stuck in the ICU and only immediate family were allowed to see her.

“I just feel like I couldn’t do it without them honestly and my family,” Jalyn says.

The trio has spent Friday evenings together since, enjoying music and eachother.

Jalyn’s determined to make the most of her new normal. She’ll be discharged from the hospital next week. She’s looking forward to dancing again one day with prosthetic legs.

“I think it’s going to be a challenge but I definitely think I can handle it,” Jalyn says.

Jalyn’s family is hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, July 20 from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Edgewood Park in New Haven.

They’re raising money to cover medical expenses and modifications they’ll need to make to their home and car to make it wheelchair accessible. Here’s the link to donate if you would like to help.

Vendors are needed, so if any are interested in participating, contact them at


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