After J & J shot, Christian teen nearly died at Easter from blood clots


By Mark Ellis –

Emma Burkey

On March 20th, Emma Burkey, 18, received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Ten days later she began to complain of a headache.

Shortly after that, she started to have seizures, was hospitalized, placed in an induced coma, then underwent multiple brain surgeries for clotting in her brain.

The J&J/Janssen vaccine carries a rare, but serious risk of an adverse reaction called “thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome” (TTS), which involves blood clots with low platelets. Nearly all the reactions happened in adult women younger than 50 years old. As of May 18th, the CDC and FDA had identified 30 confirmed reports of women who developed TTS.

Sadly, three women died from the blood clots.

“On Easter weekend, we came so very close to losing Emma,” her mom, Kathy, posted to Facebook. “Since that time, our journey has been nothing short of a miracle from God.”

Her parents are strong Christians and marshaled an army of prayer warriors to storm heaven with requests for a miracle. “There are many days that we have cried with and for Emma, but we never stopped seeking God and believing in the miracles that he would work in and through my precious girl,” Kathy posted.

Emma with her parents and grandparents

After Emma’s surgeries, she finally awakened in mid-April, but was unable to move, speak or even swallow. “She answered multiple questions by sticking out her tongue when Kathy visited her this evening…Her inability to swallow is both a short term and long-term challenge to her recovery… but we are still much relieved!” noted Pastor Bret Johnson on Emma’s GoFundMe page.

“The family thought they would lose her,” Pastor Bret told God Reports. “They said they had made peace with losing her. They were trying to do whatever they could to make sure she lived. Mom didn’t sleep for two or three days,” he recounts.

Pastor Bret and Emma’s dad, Russ, are very involved with missions mobilization through a ministry Pastor Bret started called The Hastening. When Pastor Bret provided daily updates on Emma’s GoFundMe page, he always included an inspirational Bible verse.

One week after Emma awakened from her coma, she began to swallow and slowly speak with the help of a therapist. They asked Emma if she knew where she was and she was able to say, somewhat weakly, “hospital.”

Then they asked her the month and year and she answered correctly. Dad asked if she could recite something she memorized for a school project. “I thought Dad was joking but Emma started in, ‘Four score and seven years ago, our fathers…’ I’m sure I stopped her because I almost jumped through the ceiling!” Pastor Bret noted.

“This young girl is being healed in our midst! I prayed over her and anointed her with oil and I asked, ‘Lord, will you please take all the prayers of all the people around the world that have been prayed for Emma and apply them to her life right now.’”

Three days later, Emma’s father posted to her GoFundMe page: “A main area of damage in her brain controlled language, eye movement, and memory. Her memory and language are perfect! Eye movement is ok and getting better. Her doctors call it “magic.” Prayer warriors, you know the truth! Praise and glory to the one true living God Jesus… who makes the blind see and the lame walk. Glory to His precious, powerful name, Jesus… Jesus… Jesus!!!”

On April 27th, Emma finally moved a toe on her left foot, her right leg, and raised her left arm. “She got to talk to her best friend on the phone for 30 minutes and just hang out and be an 18-year-old girl,” Pastor Bret reported. “It was the first thing resembling normalcy since April 2nd.”

He asked for continued prayer for her damaged brain and that she would continue to astound the doctors with her progress. “Let her doctors doubt “magic” is the cause and believe that Jesus is healing her as His saints pray for her full recovery,” he noted.

The next day, the hospital began working on a plan to move Emma to an acute rehab facility – another positive sign. “Early on we were told it might be months to get to this point and now it looks like it might be days,” Pastor Bret noted. “Jesus is mighty to heal, mighty to save, and Lord overall! Prayer warriors rejoice about the mountain you have told to move and Jesus made it so! Matthew 17:20.

On April 30th, they moved Emma to the rehab facility. An MRI revealed that one of the clots in Emma’s brain had affected her gastrointestinal function, which resulted in a continual battle with nausea. After a week at the new location, they were able to remove her trach tube for good. “She feels so much better and in less pain,” her dad posted.  “Better swallowing and breathing and coughing expected to follow. Thank you, Jesus!!!”

On May 9th, Pastor Bret posted:

Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.   1 Peter 1:8 NIV

“Last night was bad: nausea and her heart rate shot up to 150-170.

“Today she is doing much, much better. Heart rate is normal and no nausea. A miracle… It seems weird that Emma’s body is a spiritual warfare battleground, but it would seem that way.

“Another miracle…Emma had really wanted to see a dog but no dogs in hospitals because of Covid. This morning I just found a dog roaming the halls, going to see someone else, and they gave us five minutes. Surprisingly, someone from Vegas…

Ignoring what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:36

“Today at about 10:30 PST during physical therapy she was sitting in an upright position and holding her head BY HERSELF!!! For a few minutes at a time. She is still very weak and slept for two hours afterward but SHE DID IT!!!

“I don’t know what it was like in that room with Jesus 2000 years ago but I know what His miracles look like… from an eyewitness standpoint.”

On Mother’s Day, Emma’s dad posted: “She and dad did a solo outing in the motorized wheelchair just around the halls. Nausea was much, much better today. She ate more than she has for a month. Swallowing can be a struggle at times. Still has a weakness… nutrition is starting to be an issue…. she hasn’t eaten in a month so her stomach is so much smaller…Her left eye still needs improvements in sight and movement.”

Four days later, another milestone: “Emma was able to stand without any mechanical help… she had two therapists assisting but she took her full weight and stood fully erect. Praise you Jesus!!! A big step in her recovery and eventual ability to stay at her house in Vegas. Jesus, you are so so so good!”

Emma’s mom, Kathy, overflows with joy at the progress she has seen. “I cannot begin to convey the emotions that I have experienced the past 43 days. From where we came from at the beginning of April to the day this photo was taken, her accomplishments and healing is nothing short of a miracle, a miracle made possible by the Almighty God and each one of you who have supported us throughout this journey with your prayers.

Emma showing progress!

“She still has a very long road ahead, but she never ceases to amaze me with her spirit, determination, and her sheer awesomeness!  She will not let this get her down.  So, take a look at this photo, her amazing smile, and celebrate God’s answer to prayer.  I am so proud to be her mom. Thank you Jesus!”


The GoFundMe organizer set a goal of raising $100,000 after Emma’s family was told their daughter would need a motorized wheelchair, a standing bed, and a vehicle that can transport the wheelchair. So far, $58,119 has been donated.