Cledi Leigh Corson was born in Laramie, Wyoming on Aug 27, 2002. She was born to Gene and Kori Corson. Her first name, Cledi, came from a sweet little girl from Guatemala where Gene served his mission. She shared a middle name with her aunt, Teresa Leigh Corson, who died when she was five years old of consequences caused by a brain tumor.
Due to unfortunate complications during labor and delivery, Cledi experienced extremely low oxygen levels and her brain was severely injured in the process. As a result, within a few hours of her birth, Cledi developed seizures from brain swelling and needed to be placed on a ventilator the keep her breathing. This didn’t matter much to Cledi though because she came into this world a fighter. She spent the first several weeks of her life in the NICU but as she fought back, the tubes and cords connecting her to the hospital diminished to the point that her parents could take her home.
Cledi was such a fun child. She wasn’t like other children in that she was essentially blind and had a hard time controlling her muscles because of the brain injury. Nevertheless, Cledi found ways to have tons of fun. Her lack of vision led her to have ULTRA sharp hearing, and she found joy in the funniest sounds. She laughed when we sneezed. She laughed when we blew our noses. She cracked up at her own hiccups. She could tell who someone was just by the sounds that they would make. This, of course, led to her love of music. Her iPod, filled to the brim with an eclectic collection of songs, was the soundtrack of her and her family’s life. If you ask us, or her care providers about it, all of us have been singing and dancing to Cledi’s songs for years. These songs run on repeat through our heads.
Cledi also loved to rough house and be bounced around on someone’s lap. She enjoyed going “off-road” and would laugh at the bumps and rattles that came from her wheelchair. She loved the outdoors and walking too. Whenever we hired someone to work with Cledi, we warned them that she was our very own personal trainer. It was common to walk 6-8 miles pushing Cledi in her wheelchair in just half of a day.
Cledi’s other great pastime was touching the lives of others. She was so well known in all the places she lived. You could hardly go anywhere with her without someone saying “Hey Cledi!” You could NOT be around Cledi and not be changed for good. Her spirit was so strong that whenever others came around, they would be affected in surprising and intense ways. Complete strangers would approach her with gifts because they felt something when they were near her. Her friends in young women faithfully completed her personal progress award for her. Care providers would even come to work amidst difficult personal struggles because they knew that they would receive healing and comfort from being in her presence.
Cledi went to preschool in Kuna ID, grade school in Dayton Ohio, and also at Siena Elementary in Meridian. She attended Lake Hazel Middle School and finally became a freshman at Mountain View High School this past fall. Her aids, teachers, care providers through the years were Heaven sent. They were literally angels that helped her through every step of her growth and development.
Cledi, did all these things in the midst of great personal discomfort. She slept only fitfully. She had terrible muscle spasticity and frequent seizures. Her scoliosis bent her spine to a very uncomfortable position. Nevertheless, being the fighter that she is, she seemed to go through these things with strength and courage that were matched only by her grace and sweetness.
Then, on Jan 6th, 2020, Cledi’s body unexpectedly become sicker than it had been since birth. Her oxygen was again, extremely low. This time, she knew not to fight. She refused the cords and the tubes and was clear with her family that she was ready to go to her Heavenly home. Hospice care was initiated and at 1:05 AM on Jan 9th, with no fight required and no cords attached, she allowed her family and other loved ones to sing her to sleep. She had finished her work on this earth.
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