(portrait provided by her family)
I’m interrupting my normal posting of recipes to share with you this story that is very true and very serious. This story is dear to my heart because I know her and her family personally and I know personally how hard health problems can be! McKenna and her family are dear friends of ours. She is only 12 years old and she and her family have been dealing with her health problems for years. It has gotten so bad lately that she has had three near-fatal seizures in the last 6 months! McKenna and her families only hope is to get a medical dog that would help her prevent these seizures. The dog is ready and trained for McKenna, the only thing that they are waiting on, is the money. It cost $10,000 (US) to get this dog. If there is any way that you can help, even donating a couple of dollars, please do so here under McKenna Vogt. If you let me know (in a comment or email), I will do my best to come up with something for you in return. I am thinking of making an e-book with recipes or something, but if you have better ideas, let me know. This is not a hoax. This is a true life story. Usually you hear these stories but do not know whether they are of actual people in need and you don’t know where your money goes to. You would know in this case. Please read the full story in McKenna’s mother’s exact words below:
Dear Friends and Family:
McKenna was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes on October 15, 2007. After a stressful year of trying to regulate her blood sugars through a constant carb diet, and insulin shots, we were able to put her on a Diabetic Insulin Pump. We had great hopes that this would “normalize” her life somewhat and regulate her sugars. Since then we have found out that McKenna is very sensitive to insulin which makes it very difficult to regulate her blood sugars. We have watched her struggle through school work, spending mass amounts of time in the nurses office and trying to keep up with her sugars that make her so ill.
One year ago, McKenna was watching tv with her grandmother and her mother, when she fell over, unable to move. Her blood sugars had fallen so low that she was paralyzed. We had no idea that is was a type of seizure, nor the damage that those cause. We made adjustments worked closely with her doctor and did all that we could.
Recently, McKenna’s diabetes have caused some serious medical issues. With her insulin sensitivity, we have found that it is an exhausting process. We test her through the night, every two hours and then make adjustments. This past July while at Girls’ Camp, McKenna’s blood sugar fell too low, she had a horrible seizure and she couldn’t breathe. We were able to get her the help she needed and then we carried on with camp. We had no idea, she should go to the hospital. When we returned we went to the doctor and did all the necessary medical tests. In October, she had another seizure and was placed in the hospital. This time her blood sugars were too high and she went back into DKA (diabeticketoacidosis). She was very ill. They released her from the hospital, however we were not able to get her blood sugars down to the appropriate range and it took months to remove the ketones from her body. She missed 31 days of school. We then, under the direction of her Doctor, went through a battery of tests to try to figure out what is wrong with McKenna. So far, we still have no answers.
Three weeks ago, we woke McKenna up to get ready for school. We left the room and carried on about our business of getting ready. We felt very uncomfortable, anxious, like something was wrong. Tanya went in to check on McKenna who by then was completely paralyzed, lying on the floor, appearing as if she had had a stroke making a horrible sound because her mouth was paralyzed also. She couldn’t respond and we knew she was having a horrible seizure. We called 911, we gave her glucose and we waited for help, all the while holding our baby as she appeared to be slipping away from us. Her blood sugar had fallen dangerously low again causing another seizure that was almost fatal. They told us that once she was given the sugar, it would take 15 minutes to an hour and she would regain her memory and functions. The clocked ticked by and that just didn’t happen. She couldn’t remember her name, she didn’t know who we were, she didn’t know where she was, nor the date or time. Her brain was functioning right with her body. It was painful to watch. There was a communication error between her body and the messages being sent from her brain. We watched and waited. Then they ran a CAT Scan, a CSPINE and we waited. She was later admitted to the PICU at Cedar Crest. It took over 12 hours for all of her functions to come back and longer than that for her memory retention to work. Three major seizures in 6 months is a lot. We also are fully aware of the repercussions these episodes will have if we cannot get them to stop.
We know that it was a miracle that McKenna didn’t suffer brain damage. We know the doctors were surprised that she is functioning normally now. We know that her life was spared once again. We know that the Lord has a plan for her and already knows when she will return to Him. We know that she was His first and in the end if we have done our job right, she will be His again and only He gets to decide when that is. It is very humbling. In the meantime, we feel we need to do everything possible to help McKenna and to try to improve her quality of life.
They currently have Diabetic Service Dogs that can be trained to help people with uncontrolled diabetes. The dogs are trained specifically for the person that they will work for, so in this instance for McKenna. They take samples of her saliva when she is high and when she is low. They train the dog to recognize those scents. The dog will then wake McKenna up, or warn her when she is too low and when she is too high. The dog will go with her wherever she goes. Studies have shown that these dogs can detect blood sugar changes 1 hour before a continual glucose monitoring system can. The can detect the blood sugar change even if she is swimming in a pool and the dog is waiting by the side of the pool. The night time is what scares us the most. We sleep pretty light trying to listen for her, but we don’t always hear her. McKenna is afraid of the night times now. We are hoping the dog will help us during that time. We want to get her this dog. It is very expensive and so we need help raising the money to get the dog. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. If you would like to donate money for the dog please click on the following link and then click on the donate button, next to McKenna’s name.
We appreciate any sacrifice that can be made whether it is monetary or if you can include her in your prayers, or if you would be willing to forward this email on to your family and friends. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
McKenna in the hospital, where she has been way to much in her short life!
(Photo provided by her parents.)
Please help McKenna. She needs all the help we can give her. I would give this girl everything I had if I could. She is one super strong girl and calm and peaceful about this whole situation. She has much to teach us all still in her life. She is a wonderful girl and has made a great impact on my life and many others already. If there is any amount, a dollar even, that you can donate, she and I would really appreciate it. Her family doesn’t have the finances to pay for this dog either and that is why we need your help. The dog is ready, we just need donations. Please share what you can and SPREAD the word with EVERYONE you know!
Again, the link for the donations is: http://www.pawsibilitiesunleashed.org/home/donations
Click on the link and then click “Donate’” next to McKenna Vogt’s name…it is at the bottom.
And again, I will come up with something in exchange for your donation if you like. I am hoping to figure out how to make an e-book or something like that. If you have any ideas, let me know.
With love, Ari