Support Baby Mackenzie

In 2011, my sister Abby, hit her head and suffered a post traumatic brain injury and occipital neuralgia. Within a few months, Abby lost her job and she and her husband Alan moved from Maryland to Florida, to be closer to Abby’s family. Left with crippling migraines and mounting medical bills, Abby and Alan struggled with getting used to a new life. Then more bad news, Alan was hurt and required surgery. It was difficult to find work in Florida, so they made the decision to move to Pennsylvania, because Alan’s stepfather thought they would have better job opportunity’s there. In Pittsburgh, they moved in with family and tried to recover from the financial setbacks they had been dealt. Then an unexpected blessing came their way. A baby was on the way! Abby had to go off all her medication and they moved to a small house in Pittsburgh to get ready for their wonderful new addition. They were still struggling to pay on past medical bills and now meet the new financial stresses of a growing family, but they were happy. On December 28, 2012 our sweet baby Mackenzie was born. Our family was overjoyed! The first few days, Mackenzie was like every other newborn. Though her hips were underdeveloped from being breach, mother and daughter were well. The first night home, Mackenzie got sick and threw up all of the formula she ate. She threw up after every meal and sometimes in between. They tried all different formulas and her pediatrician gave her heartburn medicine. We prayed that this was a simple problem that she would soon grow out of as time passed. This was not the case. Mackenzie continued struggling to eat and gaining weight was a growing concern. At 7 weeks old, Mackenzie went to her first GI appointment at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. The doctor said she thought Mackenzie suffered from both a milk and soy allergy. They were given a prescription formula and sent home. The next day, Mackenzie stopped eating altogether. Within a few days, she was admitted to the hospital. Seven days and countless tests later, she seemed to be doing better. With the new formula we thought we had found the solution. Though she struggled to eat and gain weight she was doing better. We were all relieved, thinking food allergies were the problem. Abby knew better. At 6 months old, after months of tests and doctors’ appointments, Mackenzie was diagnosed with gastroparesis. This means that her stomach is essentially paralyzed. That month, she also got her first feeding tube. Since then she has gone on a strict regimen of medications and requires constant supervision from a team of doctors. Her condition and lack of sufficient nutrition has led to other health problems. With every problem, Abby and Alan struggle to manage work commitments with doctor appointments and hospital stays. They never complain and feel blessed that Mackenzie chose them to be her parents. As for Mackenzie, she is a fighter just like her mommy. With both of their medical bills, they continue to struggle financially. It is my hope that we can help lighten this burden. I want them to be able to focus on the important things and provide them with some much-needed financial relief. I humbly ask for any support you can offer, whether in prayers or in donations, we will be forever grateful.
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Organizer

Katie Whitehead 
Organizer
Lake Worth, FL
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