[ cheers and applause ] this is "nightline." >> tonight, defying the odds. born without most of his brain, now baby jackson is a year old medical miss mystery. his parents open up about their story and the backlash they faced for their difficult decision. monica the medium. she says she's like any other college student for one thing -- >> i talk to the dead. >> what really goes on inside a private session? despite the skepticism, what she said that made our correspondent do a double take. >> crazy! the force awakens. at halftime.
way. >> when worlds collide in a galaxy far, far away in a hotly anticipated star wars trailer. >> it's calling to you. >> which lands in the middle of monday night football. but first -- >> just let it in. >> it takes a lot of work to run this business but i really love it. i'm on the move all day long. and sometimes i just don't eat the way i should. so i drink boost to get the nutrition that i'm missing. >> boost complete nutritional drink has 26 essential vitamins and minerals chug calcium and vitamin d to support strong bones and 10 grams of protein to help maintain muscle, all with a great taste. >> i don't plan on slowing down
it is time to deal out-of-pocket costs. commentator: the 32-year-old head of a pharmaceutical company raised the price of a life-saving drug overnight by 5,000%. i'm announcing a detailed plan to crack down on these abuses. commentator: he may be lowering it after hillary clinton blasted him out of the water. her plan would limit the out-of-pocket costs that consumers have to pay. clinton: nobody in america should have to choose between buying the medicine they need and paying their rent. i'm hillary clinton,
good evening. thanks for joining us. we begin with the poignant story of love and sacrifice in the face of overwhelming odds. a young couple learned their child will be born with a debilitating medical condition and they bring him into the world anyway. now these parents have a medical marvel on their hands. here's abc's david wright. >> reporter: for brandon and britney bule, the first serious curveball of parenthood came the day after their 17-week ultrasound. >> these are his legs, his hands and feet are in the air like this. >> reporter: the scan where the couple first found out they were having a baby boy. >> the ultrasound tech was acting strange. she got really quiet. when she got to his head and was measuring it, she didn't say a word. >> reporter: then the very next
>> they told me he had spina bifida bifida. >> how did you process that? >> i don't know, i didn't really process it at the time. i couldn't believe it. >> reporter: turns out that initial diagnosis was wrong but the scan showed a severe brain abnormality abnormality. their son's head was not forming properly. the brain almost nonexistent. miraculously, jackson survived. he's now just over a year old. the doctors didn't expect him to. in fact, it was the sort of pregnancy where doctors as gently as possible mention the word "termination." word. >> it wasn't until 23 weeks >> the option? >> that we had the option to terminate in the state of florida until 24 weeks. >> reporter: many american families faced with that 17-week scan would not have brought this baby into the world. >> how many fingers do i see? >> reporter: jackson's parents gave him a chance. >> where do they come from?
i can't say but i bet they have come a long, long way. >> in a way this is the essence of that debate, isn't it? >> it can be if anybody wants to but we never -- >> we don't try to take that it way. >> reporter: they did think >> i would feel terrible doing something like that. but if they were to tell me he was going to suffer? or he would be in pain? or my life was in jeopardy? then my thought process might >> we're christian and we believe in what we believe in. but we still are going to do the best thing for our family, for britney, and ultimately for jackson. >> reporter: and this is jackson today. severely disabled but thriving. >> for us, this just seems normal. we don't have another child. this is the first one. >> reporter: even just bathing him is a task that requires both parents. >> want to play with the toys? was that a yes or was that a no? >> where do you put his happiness?
time, like any other baby. he's feeting and he's feeting and gassy so he's cranky often. >> he is is the sweetest baby. we're weissed and that's fine. >> every parent is. >> of course. >> reporter: jackson is not like most other babies. here's what his brain should look like. instead, this is jackson's brain. only a year later did neurologists at boston's children's hospital come up with a proper diagnosis. >> microhydro encephaly. >> how much of the brain is there? >> very little. >> will he be able to talk? >> i'd be shocked. >> will he be able to walk? >> unlikely. >> reporter: doctors are surprised he's made it this far. >> do you have any sense as to how long he can survive with this? >> i don't know. i don't have a crystal ball. it really depends on the medical complications. >> such a good boy.
>> reporter: he's only made it this far with the help of his parents. jackson gets nutrition through a feeding tube. burping him involves removing the excess fluid directly from his stomach. he sometimes suffers from mild seizures. >> it's okay. even when he's really calm sometimes he'll go into a slight seizure. >> is he suffering? >> i don't think so. he was irritable when i saw him. and there's nothing about this that causes pain per se. >> reporter: pain and suffering things. in the end, the doctors themselves say that science alone can't answer that question. life? >> again, i met him once so i don't have a full appreciation of that. but i would ask his parents. >> can you press the buttons? >> reporter: how he's able to see the lights on his toy turtle is baffling because the cerebrum nonexistent. >> you got to touch the button, mommy can't do it for you. i'll remind you.
you put your hand and then you like that. >> reporter: yet his parents, who spend so much time with him, are convinced their son is in there. >> it's so cute when he gets so >> it is. >> he grins. >> he has a cute grin. >> it is cute. >> reporter: responding to their love and attention. >> every day we spend time with him, every day we play with him, every day we say i love you. >> a hundred million times. >> a little exaggeration. but probably over 100 times every single day, no exaggeration. >> can you sit up like a big boy? >> we call him by his name, we say mommy's here, daddy's here, we love you so much, we're proud of you, you're so strong, you're so smart. he hears that every day from us. maybe i'm bias but i believe that positive reinforcement and talking to him and loving him -- >> that was a big yawn, buddy. >> i think he's responding to that very well. >> reporter: not only that, they feel he loves them back. >> i love you!
saying so in videos such as this one. >> i love you. >> i love you! >> reporter: even if others may not hear it, these parents feel it. britney and brandon also hear from the naysayers. whenever they post jackson's photos and videos online, people write the most terrible things. >> and we can't fathom what kind of people would, one, think something like that about an innocent child, especially one with special needs. and two, actually hit the send button. >> he's a lucky boy. you guys seem like great parents. >> we try. >> we are trying hard. >> reporter: jackson is lucky. because many parents would not have given him that chance. it hasn't been easy. a lot of his treatments, including that trip to boston, are not covered by insurance. they've had to resort to a gofundme campaign which is covering most of their bills for now. >> every decision that we have ever made for him have been about his happiness, his comfort, no matter what that meant and no matter what the cost. >> i feel like jackson's doing so well and can teach the
medical world so much. >> and we realize that jackson's life has purpose, whether you are faith based or whether you just are scientific and want to see more about medicine, learn more about the human brain. and at the same time we realize the reality of jackson. that we're -- we're probably going to outlive him. there is an excellent chance of that. we're just trying to give him the best life possible. >> knowing it might be a short one. >> we realize that. so every day is precious. >> reporter: ordinary people struggling with an extraordinary burden. and doing it with love. i'm david wright for "nightline" in taveras, florida. up next, the millennial medium who says she serves up life-changing, eye-opening, mind-blowing experiences. for a price. speaking of mind-bending, universal delight for "star wars" fans with a brand spanking new trailer for "the force awakens."
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sure plenty of college students pursue extracurriculars, like acapella or the student newspaper. the one you're about to meet claims to have a talent many find hard to believe. her life she says punctuated by urgent messages from the dead. tonight she explains her so-called third eye to abc's abbie boudreau, and things get personal. >> hey, guys, hi. >> i can connect to those who have crossed over. >> reporter: 21-year-old monica says she can talk to the dead
and is what she's doing. at a party. during a tutoring session. >> she showed me a lock of hair. did you keep a lock of her hair? the dead have a message, they can be very pushy. >> you need to give a message to my daughter, please, please! >> i've been waiting for her to come. >> you've been waiting. that's so, so sweet. >> reporter: now monica is the star of the abc family reality show "monica the medium" chronicle ing her life as a college student at penn state with her career as a medium. >> a lot of people think of mediums and they don't imagine someone who looks like you. >> i've had so many people my age that said to me, i would have never have been open to seeing a medium. they're very grateful for the fact that i'm somebody out there who does this, and i am just like them. >> except? >> except i talk to the dead, yeah. exactly. >> how can you best describe this. >> the best way i can explain it is sometimes i just know things. it comes out of my mouth.
where did that come from? >> reporter: she refers to a third eye which allows her to perceive messages from the dead. >> this third eye what exactly -- >> it's like seeing it in your mind versus seeing it outside yourself. i see it in my head. hear it in my -- in my thought's voice. a flash of an image or a movie playing in your head, that's what's happening to me. >> reporter: she regularly sees clients but won't disclose how much she charges. on this day we're about to witness monica at work with her clients, latrice colson-jones, whose husband died almost 20 years ago, and their daughter. >> he was murdered. >> he was ripped away from you guys. >> uh-huh. >> and i feel robbed. >> reporter: they hope to speak with him through a reading with monica. >> are you guys excited? >> reporter: she begins the reading. >> the only thing i know is you lost your husband, correct? this will be your dad, correct? we will get started.
>> reporter: minutes later she says she feels something. >> there's so many people. there's a line of people and people. >> reporter: monica says grandpa is here. >> i don't know why i all of a sudden -- i am having some issues in the chest, lung area, having a bit of a hard time catching my breath here. something's making me cough. like i can't catch my breath. >> he had lung cancer. >> he had lung cancer and i can't catch my breath. had he also been a smoker? >> yes. >> reporter: finally the man they were hoping for monica says is present. >> your dad and your husband, they know each other in spirit because they're hanging out. they're pals. they're right next to each other, which is really cool. he says to me, i wasn't always perfect, though. even though we shared such a great love, i wasn't always the perfect husband. do you understand that? and i made a lot of poor decisions and mistakes. he takes some responsibility in sometimes hanging with the wrong crowd. i do feel like -- i hear gunshots. was he murdered?
>> uh-huh. >> okay. he wants to acknowledge, though, that it's like, i was young, i wasn't thinking straight, i should have been smarter and i wish that i could go back and change things. he keeps saying, my love, my love, my love. you guys are not alone so never question or doubt he's still with you. i'm going to let spirit back up. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. give me a hug. >> thank you. >> okay. at what -- what is it that you're actually seeing or hearing? >> when latrice's father is coming through, and the grandfather, he's talking about sickness and health issues, i started coughing and couldn't breathe. that's when i'm physically feeling something. i was hearing, oh, also a smoker. all these things are coming through at the same time. >> can you come around if that's okay? so we're at eye level? >> reporter: monica says it wasn't until high school that she started to connect with the dead. >> i thought i might be crazy. i thought for a while maybe i had a brain tumor or something. like there was something wrong with me.
but then as it started happening more and more i realized, i'm not crazy, i don't have schizophrenia, this isn't made up, this is real, this is happening. >> reporter: her parents were skeptical at first, especially her catholic mother. >> when you were born, i didn't have in my wish list, i want one of my daughters to become a medium. this was like a shock to me. i don't know, who talks to the dead? >> she was very worried. but she's come a long way from when she first found out about what i do. >> so what was she doing? >> reporter: this is a line of work routinely met with skepticism, for good reason. >> she got in a car accident right in front of our house. >> what do you say to people who just think, this is not, this cannot be real. >> i am the first to admit that it is something that is hard to wrap your brain around, that this is even possible or that it can happen. if i wasn't the one doing this on a day-to-day basis, connecting to spirit, i would be a huge skeptic.
called her a fraud and a con artist. >> did you lose your mom? >> reporter: mediums are often criticized for emotionally and financially taking advantage of the grieving. >> i'm the first one to admit that there are a lot of people who call themselves a medium or gifted and they are frauds or they are con artists, liars, fakes, after people's money, taking advantage. and that's really sad because, you know, that puts the genuine mediums in negative light and we get dumped in that category. >> reporter: for now monica is taking a break from college to focus on what she calls her gift. >> do you see yourself doing this forever? >> i'll be doing this till the day i die. there's no question about that. >> reporter: and as we wrapped our interview, monica tells me i had some unexpected visitors coming through. >> there is a grand mother that's trying to step through. now, is dad's mom on the other side for you? who's the m.a.r.? is she mary? okay, good. mary! she yelled. mary!
late grandma and grandpa were together enjoying a treat. >> they're drinking milk shakes and eating like ice cream sundaes. >> they ran a dairy queen, that's crazy! are you serious? that's amazing. >> that got me chills. >> reporter: even though a lot of this information can be readily found online, she did tell me some very personal things that i'm still not sure how she could have known. >> do you feel like it's a situation where you were chose someone. >> i'm just this regular girl who happens to have this gift. i do feel like it was part of my life plan. it's my purpose in this lifetime to be doing this work. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm abbie boudreau in los angeles. >> "monica the medium" airs tuesday nights on abc family at 8:00 p.m. eastern. the force awakening tonight with a crash landing. "star wars" fans dissecting every second of the brand-new
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so what do "star wars" fans and football fans have in common? they were both out in full force tonight. less than two months to go before "the force awakens" when we finally got a "jedi-full" into episode 7. >> reporter: a long time ago in a halftime show far far away came the longest look yet at the eagerly awakens "star wars
>> i was raised to do one thing. >> reporter: storm troopers, light slabers, the millennium falcon teasing what looks to be an action-packed trip to the dark said. it's 30 years after "return of the jedi" and brings back carrie fisher and harrison ford as han solo. >> strong. >> reporter: appearing in scenes with new characters portrayed by actress daisy ridley. ex-wing fighter pilot getting plenty of face time. and adam driver speaking out here as this movie's bad guy. >> finish what you started. >> reporter: still no glimpse of luke skywalker, hero of the original trilogy. absent from the movie's poster released sunday, leading some fans to worry.
awakens," the seventh installment in the "star wars" series, and there's been a steady buildup for anticipation about any details of the movie. preorder tickets are available for sale with sites of some online vendors already crashing under the demand. some theaters will be hosting marathon screenings of every film in the series. leading up to the movie's debut december 18th. start popping the popcorn. thanks for watching abc news. good into "good morning america" tomorrow. as always we are online 24/7 on our online facebook page and abcnews.com. tomorrow. >> announcer: the following is a paid presentation, brought to you by abundance edu. get ready in your local area for an opportunity to profit from real estate like you've never seen before. the rebounding real-estate market in the u.s. is getting hot, creating a whole new wave