Story by Darrenn Cooper / Record Sports Department
EMERSON — Cartwheel? Cartwheel? Jessica Livingstone is practically begging you to ask her to do a cartwheel. Right now. Right here in the living room. She can do it.
Livingstone, 19, can do anything now. Well, except meet Bon Jovi, which she still really wants to do, like, right now. They came so close once and it didn’t happen. It’s one thing on her checklist that she hasn’t scratched off yet.
But some of the other things on that list? Well, let’s check.
Pet a baby lion? She did it.
Kiss a giraffe? Done.
Sass doctors? Go to prom? Shoot a superhero commercial? Inspire a community? Fight back from an extraordinarily rare brain disorder? And most importantly, run out on to the football field as an Emerson High School cheerleader her senior year?
“I am perfectly healthy now and I am so happy to still be here,” said Livingstone, who will receive a Charlie McGill Scholarship Award from the NorthJersey.com staff at Thursday night’s Sports Awards. “Yeah, I’m a cheerleader and yeah, I have my varsity jacket which I thought I would never get and I have the necklace they gave me from cheering and all the clothes, and just to be able to say yes, I was a varsity cheerleader my senior year … it’s amazing.”
It has certainly been an incredible journey for Livingstone. You’ve probably never heard of the disease she has. It’s called Moyamoya, and in layman’s terms it means that her blood wasn’t properly circulating around her brain.