SPLENDORA, Texas -- Five-year-old Sakura Barden loves to cheer, but she also knows how to fight. Two years ago, the little girl became infected with bacterial meningitis.
Any night could have been her last.
“She went through a living hell of her own,” said her grandfather, Dennis Harden. “We were there, we saw it.”
It eventually cost Sakura her arm, some fingers, and her toes. But today, she could not be doing better.
Her grandmother calls her a miracle.
“She’s so energetic and so beautiful and so positive,” Linda Barden said.
She is also not contagious, which is why her family recently put her into Pre-K in the Splendora I.S.D.
“I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal,” the girl’s mother, Helen Barden said.
But some parents apparently did have in issue, and Barden said some told her that her daughter did not belong.
“Because she doesn’t look the same as the other children, because she has an amputation,” she said.
She claims a nurse even suggested special education after Sakura hurt herself while cheerleading.
“It would have given her a complex,” Barden said. “I don’t want her to ever feel bad about herself because she’s beautiful.”
The superintendent for the Splendora I.S.D. assures 11 News that Sakura will stay just where she is. She said no parent has complained about the girl to anyone at the school.
For those who might have a problem, her grandmother has a word of caution.
“It could happen to you,” she said. “I would not want that to happen to anybody. But if it did, what would you do? How would you feel?”
The mother said there are still plenty of parents and kids embracing her daughter. Despite the drama outside the classroom, she said Sakura seems to be making friends and thriving at cheerleading.