Most of the children who have been poisoned are not “‘only‘ children.”
When a child is poisoned, life goes on for the family and they still need to love and care for their other children as well – and as life would have it, in many cases, the other children also have issues of their own.
Having even just one lead poisoned child is often too much to handle, but as a parent with four children – each of whom has tested positive for lead in varying degrees, and each of whom has had different and unique health challenges over the past 10 years – I know first hand how difficult the day-to-day challenges of many of our parents can be – especially when they have other children with medical problems and special needs.
Lead poisoned children do not show up inside a bubble… and the context of having a lead poisoned child as part of a larger family is most often exponentially more challenging than one might think the challenges that one child presents to the family could be.
In the case of one of our mamas, Amanda Delancey, her challenges (and her triumphs) with one of her other children have been incredibly dramatic. Her five year old daughter, McKenna has a rare disorder that has necessitated multiple surgeries on her skull since she was an infant. “Kenna” is just five years old – and one BRAVE kiddo!
Kenna’s little brother Brock was lead poisoned, which is how we met her family and learned about her story. Brock is three now. He was lead poisoned from regular visits to a race horse barn; when the family stopped letting him go there for a few weeks in a row his numbers dropped dramatically. [The barn has since been torn down.]
When I saw this particular photo of Kenna’s recent surgery (from summer 2015)… I decided I wanted to share her story with our readers and offer to help this family in some way.
After tossing some ideas back and forth, Mama Amanda and I decided on a “card shower” for Kenna. Kenna LOVES animals AND she LOVES getting mail and we would love to help shower this kiddo and her family with love by sending her postcards and notecards with photos of animals from all of the world!
*Can you help?*
More of her story—with the address to send her cards—is below (her family got her a p.o. box just so we could make this happen!)
Mail cards to:
118 23rd street
Columbus Nebraska 68601
Here’s Kenna’s story in her mama’s own words:
Card shower For Kenna!!!
Everyone meet McKenna.
McKenna is a 5 year old little girl in Columbus Nebraska. She has a heart of gold and a contagious smile.
She was born with a condition called Craniosynostosis. Craniosynostosis is where the skull bones prematurely fuse not allowing room for the brain to grow. We were told if she did not have her first surgery which was a cranial vault reconstruction at 6 months old she would not live past a year.
Her first surgery was completed in November 2010. During her first surgery they also corrected her tongue which was slightly tongue tied.
Her issues were also complicated by torticollis which is a condition in which the head becomes persistently turned to one side, often associated with painful muscle spasms (also called wryneck.) This condition was corrected with frequent therapy visits at wiggles and giggles. After a few weeks of healing McKenna was fitted with a helmet. She wore this helmet until she was 13 months old.
Kenna did not walk until she was about 18 months old.
Everything seemed to be going fine at that point. We continued to go back for check ups and things seemed to be going great. Later she started her first year of preschool and a few days in she started getting massive headaches. We pushed it off at first thinking it was possibly just allergies. It was more than allergies. We saw her pediatrician 4 times before a CT was done. At the CT we learned that she had bone growths on her skull which was from calcium build up. But that was not causing the headaches. We went back one more time to the pediatrician. He ordered an MRI. The results of the MRI came with being told that Kenna had Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia. Kenna then had decompression surgery and a large cyst removed with a piece of the right tonsil of her brain also removed. At the time the doctors told us that the cysts will continue to grow back and will possibly need more surgeries over time. There was still a lot of pressure on her brain.
It was at that point that another surgery was scheduled and we found out that the same suture of her skull (from the earlier surgery) had re-fused. The doctors then did a “cranial vault reconstruction surgery with distraction” on July 16, 2015 (see the photo above.) Two times each day we had to turn pins that were sticking out of her skin on her head on each side (1mm each turn.) Turning the pins helped to stretch out her skull.
She is scheduled to have the pins removed on October 15, 2015 (just two weeks away!)
We will then let her heal and we will plan our next adventure which is a trip to Minnesota Mayo Hospital in Rochester where we will then begin addressing her leg length issues and pain management. There is a 1/2 inch difference between her two legs. I know the difference is not huge, but for someone with balance issues anyways with Chiari, it makes a huge difference for her. Tripping happens very frequently. While we are there we are being assessed by Neurology, Bone Specialists, and a team of geneticists.
Thank you all for thoughts and prayers!
We feel that these cards or post cards will brighten her day. She has a love for learning and animals like you would not believe. When she had her surgery back in July, she received a couple cards and she still brings it up that she got mail. She goes out to greet the mail man to see if she has any mail as often as she can.
I think this would be a great way to lift her spirits as she is really sad she will be missing school again!
Please feel free to share this and pass it around!
Mama Amanda and I have exchanged more than 150 private messages on Facebook (!) When I asked Kenna’s mama if there was anything else she needed help with, she said “Transportation” – the cost of getting to all of the medical appointments for Kenna (including lodging and managing her siblings when she needs to be treated/ have surgery) is an overwhelming burden for the family. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to help this family with their medical related transportation costs, please click HERE.
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