In 2005, MacKenzie was like any normal 8-year-old. As a gymnast she was always full of energy, but soon she became irritable and developed a slight slur in her speech. An MRI revealed a brain tumor the size of an egg. MacKenzie immediately went into surgery to remove the tumor, followed by months of grueling treatment, but by March of 2007 the tumor resurfaced. The treatment continued, which included two surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, two experimental stem cell transplants, and rehabilitation to re-learn how to walk, talk and eat.
The indomitable MacKenzie held on to hope. With faith in God, trust in her doctors and pixie dust—the magic and miracles she and her family hoped for—she is now in remission. MacKenzie continues to serve the hospital by participating in telethons, fundraisers and the Radiothon, where she is a star. Hospital staff say she handled herself throughout an extreme situation with grace and a positive spirit that everyone can learn from.
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