Chickenpox, for many years, was considered so common and inevitable that it was almost a milestone in a child’s life. In some cases, parents would even throw “chickenpox parties” in an effort to expose their children to the virus early on and get things over with.
However, that hardly means that chickenpox isn’t dangerous. As one mother in England learned, there’s a lot more than just persistent itchiness that this disease can cause. Though her story is quite tragic, it’s also a cautionary tale every parent needs to hear.
In 2016, Bryan-Andrew Lock was a seemingly happy, healthy three-year-old living in the small town of Yeovil, England. His mother, Jasmine Shortland, described him as “such a good little boy… He would melt your heart with his smile. He didn’t have a bad bone in his body.”
Jessica Lorraine Shortland
Jasmine worked as a bartender at the time, sharing a home with her partner, Josh Wescott. In addition to Bryan-Andrew (left) she also had three other younger sons: Austin, Ivan, and Isaac.
When Bryan-Andrew and Austin contracted chickenpox at the same time, Jasmine wasn’t surprised. However, she knew that Isaac and Ivan could possibly contract it just by being near them, and Jasmine didn’t want to take that risk.
So, on August 10, 2016, Jasmine sent both of her exposed sons, Bryan-Andrew and Austin, to spend the night with their grandmother. That’s when a normal childhood illness took a devastating turn…
Jasmine said Bryan-Andrew was in a good mood when he left for his grandmother’s house: “He was running around. He was happy. He was laughing and joking. I spoke to him on the phone… he told me he loved me and I said, ‘I’ll see you soon and give you cuddles.’”