McKenzie is a beautiful 18-year-old who suffers from the life-threatening Mitochondrial Disease. “Mito” as it referred to, is an inherited, chronic illness that can be present at birth or develop later in life. In McKenzie’s case, she was diagnosed at 18 months. At 11 months old McKenzie was suffering from seizures and after many emergency room visits, she was diagnosed with the disease.
“No one knew about it”, said McKenzie’s mother Tammy Carey. “Every doctor we talked to said they would have to research it to give advice.” Not the response a family desperate for answers wants to hear.
Today around 1 in 4000 children in the United States will develop mito by the age of 10 years, and around 4000 children per year are born in the U.S. with a type of mitochondrial disease. There is no cure, but there are treatments that can help with the symptoms, mostly from what we read are related to vitamins.
McKenzie’s condition, like most who suffer from it, has gotten progressively worse. Although her mother will tell you that McKenzie is able to eat by herself. The disease is a chronic genetic disorder, that occurs when mitochondria of the cell fail to produce enough energy for the cells or organs to function. As the disease progresses, some patients lose their ability to eat and a feeding tube is then required, which presents its own set of problems.
McKenzie and her family moved to Florida from Georgia a few years ago, so McKenzie could attend the No Limits Academy. The No Limits Academy based in Melbourne is a not for profit Christian School for physically disabled children aged between 6 and 21. It’s incredible to know that our county is blessed with a number of world class teaching facilities for kids that suffer from autism, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, and other physical disorders.
During the recent pandemic, McKenzie turned 18 years old and was unable to share her birthday with friends or family. Melbourne Police, Firefighters as well as Brevard Sheriffs, gave McKenzie a parade by driving around her home.
When I contacted Tammy after reading this story, McKenzie’s wish was for a bike “like she has at school”. The bike they are referring to is a tricycle custom made by Rifton, a maker of “Adaptive Equipment”. “She gets so much joy when she gets to ride the bike at school,” Tammy said. The cost of the bike is $2,690.00
We think this is a small price to pay to see McKenzie’s beautiful smile in action. Help us deliver this bike to McKenzie.