Community rallies around ‘Miracle Maggie’ after parents, brother die in crash

Community rallies around ‘Miracle Maggie’ after parents, brother die in crash

EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Less than a month ago a crash in Florida killed a young Effingham County couple and their four-year-old son. Their infant daughter was the only survivor.

Baby Maggie turns 7-months old this week. She survived the crash that killed her family with only a few bruises.

They’re calling her their Miracle Maggie and with such an un-thinkable loss so early in life, the community has stepped in to support her in a big way.

Emily Burnside had known Brittany Hesling literally since the day she was born. They were inseperable.

She describes Chris and Brittany Hesling’s story as a fairy tale - high school sweethearts and Effingham County’s Prom King and Queen, getting married, and welcoming two children, Jack and Maggie into the world.

Burnside and Hesling shared everything, including pregnancy.

“We were dance teachers, so we taught lots of little boys and girls, but it was something about having a daughter that was just really special,” said Burnside.

Nov. 16 everything changed.

“I mean, it’s been horrible, but we all have one glimmer of light left, and that’s Maggie, so we have a little piece of Brittany and a little piece of Chris left and she’s perfect,” she said.

Baby Maggie survived a crash that killed her parents, big brother and the other driver . She was pulled from the wreckage with just bruises.

“We’re calling it a miracle. She’s our Miracle Maggie, so we don’t know why, but we know that she’s here and we’re going to make sure she knows everything about her mom and her dad and her brother,” she said.

Burnside said that she was mourning but knew she needed to do something. That’s when her maternal instincts kicked in.

She knew Brittany had breast-fed baby Maggie.

“Being a mom, I knew that that was something that was important to Brittany, was to make sure that Maggie was well-fed and that Maggie was doing so well with the breast milk, that we didn’t want to, you know, she just had her parents taken from her, the last thing we need to do is upset her stomach or something,” she said.

She made a post to Facebook, more than 1,000 shares later, through the help of milk banks, mothers from all over donated enough milk for Maggie to get through her first year. They even had three deep-freezers donated to store it all.

Miracle Maggie drinking her first donor bottle.
Miracle Maggie drinking her first donor bottle. (Source: Emily Burnside/Hesling family)

Here she is with Burnside drinking her first donor bottle.

While the tight-knit community rallies around Miracle Maggie and her grandparents, they remember the three lives cut too short.

“I think the biggest warmth I felt was at the funeral, and I looked up and I saw a lot of our classmates that we went to high school with and you know, we hadn’t seen them in years, but Brittany and Chris just had that love for everybody and that was returned,” she said.

If you want to help support baby Maggie, go here.

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