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Man dies after miracle life journey

Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 11:33 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 2, 2022 at 12:26 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A medical miracle remembered.

“The man who slept for 19 years” has died nearly 20 years after the miracle awakening.

On Friday, family and friends gathered to honor the man whose name has gone down in history and medical books.

Terry Wallis died earlier this week. A man who defied all odds.

“He was a great kid and always. Everyone really loved him. He was just as fine a kid as you could find anywhere,” said Jerry Wallis, his dad.

Terry was in a coma for 19 years after he was in a wreck in 1984, six weeks after his daughter was born.

Jerry described his son as a man of laughter, love, and a man who always had an ice-cold Pepsi.

In file video, Terry can be heard doing what they said he did best, talking.

During his wreck, Terry’s truck skidded off the road and down into this embankment.

His brother, George, was 12 when the wreck happened.

“There were months and months that he was there in a coma and they really did not expect him to live for the first couple of months,” said his brother.

George said Terry was protective of his siblings, but would always encourage them to keep pushing.

“Very mechanical. He could make anything work, I don’t care what it was. He could make anything work. Something that everyone else had given up on he could make it work again,” said George.

Terry took his own advice and kept pushing when some said he would not wake up from the coma, he did in 2003.

During the time he was in a coma and after that day his family made sure he was included in all the family activities...

“We would bring him home and take him to the creek, fishing, hunting. I mean he might not participate. But he was sitting there watching,” said Tammy Baze, his sister.

It was that love and interaction that doctors said likely led to Terry’s miracle.

“Included him in all of their conversations as if he was aware and now we know that he was aware,” said Dr. James Zini.

Terry’s journey through the coma and after was long, but he always shared how much he loved each of them and they believe Terry was ready for his final rest.

“Well, that’s okay. I’m ready to go to heaven. He said those words less than a week before he passed,” said George.

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