A mother mourns the loss of her brave and strong daughter

Corinne Kanning
Jordan Bludworth enjoys a glass of wine while vacationing in Oregon in 2018.

Jordan Layne Bludworth, 32, and his mother, Corinne Kanning, moved to Leakey about three months ago from a small town in Montana on the Canadian border. Their hope was that they would be closer to their family, but the events that followed ended up separating them forever.

After a devastating battle with COVID-19, Jordan passed away on January 20, 2022, three months and a day after her 32nd birthday.

“I really fought with myself about whether or not I should move here,” Kanning said. Moving was kind of a trip home, because many years ago they lived in Leakey and Jordan went to high school there.

“We hardly moved because COVID was so rampant here,” Kanning said. “It was probably the worst decision I’ve ever made.”

Her daughter was born with Down syndrome and has lived with multiple health issues, including being diagnosed with moyamoya disease, a rare chronic, progressive disease that affects blood flow to the brain.

Jordan, born in Pasadena in October 1989, had also survived seven strokes that left her with mobility issues, but she was still able to navigate.

Despite this, her mother said, she still lit up the lives of others.

“She never knew how to give up,” Kanning said, describing her daughter as a survivor.

“She was happy and had so much love in her. I don’t think anyone has ever met her who didn’t love her,” Kanning said. “Jordan was amazing, silly, brat, brave and so amusing.”

The family traveled about 1,774 miles from Shelby, Montana to be closer to Jordan’s father, Donald Bludworth, and other family members.

Jordan, a lover of road trips, shrimp and steak, coloring and movies, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 27, and Kanning, her full-time carer, said she was starting to need help.

Kanning had recently gone through a marriage separation, and Jordan’s Alzheimer’s disease had progressed to a point where Kanning did not feel comfortable leaving her in the care of those who did not know her.

As part of his illness, the things Jordan loved to do, like going to the movies, had started to dissipate.

So when Jordan recently asked his mom to take him to the “big movies,” Kanning was thrilled to fulfill the request.

“I said ‘Oh my God, yes’ because she never had that interest again,” Kanning said, recounting her excitement. So the couple came to Uvalde to see the new Spider-Man movie.

Kanning said she never lost sight of the dangers of COVID-19 and took protective measures on every outing. She said she knew it was also not healthy to keep Jordan in isolation.

Days after seeing Spider-Man, Jordan came down with COVID-19.

“I was so careful with her. When we went places, we wore masks and kept our distance,” Kanning said, noting that they were both vaccinated as well.

She said she often heard reports that the dominant Omicron variant was much softer.

Corrine Kanning and Jordan Bludworth

“The news stations say that Omicron is not so dangerous. You don’t have to worry. But you do,” Kanning said, while reflecting on how many times she’s heard the saying, “Everybody’s gonna get COVID.

Yale Medicine reported early last year on a UK study that found people with Down syndrome are four times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and 10 times more likely to die than the general population.

“Additional studies confirmed these findings for people with the genetic condition, which is also known as trisomy 21 and is caused when abnormal cell division creates an extra chromosome,” reads the Yale Medicine report.

The Thursday, Feb. 3 edition of Leader-News reported data from the Texas State Department of Health Services that indicated approximately 3,352 people in Uvalde County had tested positive for COVID-19 as of during the month of January.

Jordan was admitted to Uvalde Memorial Hospital on January 9.

A few days earlier, they had gone to the emergency room at UMH, where Jordan had been evaluated and had pneumonia. She was sent home to recover on antibiotics.

According to the Uvalde Health Authority website, 97 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 at UMH during the month of January.

Kanning said she monitored Jordan’s oxygen saturation levels with an oximeter at home and when they started to drop she took her back to the hospital.

Kanning, who also tested positive for COVID-19, began chronicling Jordan’s hospital stay on social media when she was also suffering from the disease.

Given Jordan’s terms, Kanning said UMH was gracious and let her stay with him full-time. She battled her own COVID symptoms at the same time.

She said she shared her daughter’s experience on social media to hopefully impact the lives of others.

She said living in a rural community doesn’t necessarily lend itself to support groups for people with complex conditions.

“This [social media] lets you know what you need to be aware of…good or bad, social media has been good at raising awareness,” Kanning said. “If even another family sticks a mask on their child and prevents them from getting sick like Jordan did, then talking about it is worth it.

“It is worth my effort to share. None of this was pleasant to share. It was tough,” she said.

Five days after being admitted to hospital, Jordan, who was originally on a bi-pap machine to help him breathe, was intubated.

Her mother said putting her on a ventilator brought her a sense of peace, as Jordan was completely sedated and no longer afraid.

“The bi-pap pressure kept her in a constant state of fear and terror,” Kanning said.

The day before he was put on the ventilator, Kanning posted online that Jordan had started to become unresponsive.

“My beautiful daughter feels defeated. She has no interest in anything. She doesn’t look me in the eye, she doesn’t give me her arms back… She can’t swallow pills or drink anymore…” she writes.

Jordan’s condition continued to deteriorate and. on January 19, 10 days after her admission, Kanning said she called her family to come and say goodbye. She said the UMH nurses and staff were very kind to Jordan throughout the process.

She said that although her daughter was able to overcome so many health hurdles, she could not beat COVID-19.

“All her life she’s battled anything that came her way, strokes, open-heart surgery, Alzheimer’s, whatever it is, she pulled through,” she said. Kanning said. “And this time she couldn’t.”

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