Brooklyn was excited to meet Anna and Elsa, stars of Disney’s “Frozen.”
Brooklyn Kennedy, a 12-year-old 7th grader at Niles Middle School already has faced more medical struggles in her young life than most people face in a lifetime.
She was just 1 week old when her mother, Amanda, took her to the pediatrician’s office feeling that something just wasn’t right. He discovered baby Brooklyn’s body temperature was a dangerously low 91 degrees. Emergency crews rushed her to the hospital, where she stopped breathing several times and fell into a week-long coma.
“I was in shock—I had just delivered her the week before, and now they were telling me my baby may not make it,” explains Amanda.
Testing determined Brooklyn had an underactive thyroid, causing her temperature to drop. Further testing revealed she had two pineal brain cysts, affecting her optic nerve. Over the next several months, medicine helped to regulate her thyroid, one cyst was completely dissolved, and she was able to go home.
At a later checkup, Grace Smith, MD, director, Akron Children’s Heart Center in the Mahoning Valley, found a hole in Brooklyn’s heart and a leaky valve. Fortunately, no surgery was needed. After scans every six months, over the course of several years, the hole closed on its own.
“I looked at it as a miracle,” says Amanda.
At 6 years old, Brooklyn was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency, which prevented her from reaching developmental milestones. Because of Brooklyn’s age, doctors recommended waiting to start her treatment until she was older. At 9, she started hormone medications and shots.
“Since we started her treatments, she’s grown 10 inches!” explains Amanda. “She’s come a long way.”
There have been other trials in Brooklyn’s young life. Last year, she was diagnosed with adrenal deficiency, a very rare condition. She now takes thyroid medication and hydrocortisone treatments to balance her hormone levels, and sees Melanie Shoaf, RN, MSN, CNP, endocrinology, regularly for check-ups.
Most recently, Brooklyn had bone growths removed from both feet by Sheryl Handler-Matasar, MD, pediatric orthopedic surgeon. By June 1, she had the casts off and was walking well enough to visit with some Disney Princesses. Brooklyn and her family were gifted with a trip to Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida by Kids Wish Network based on letters of recommendation from her doctors at Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. She was excited to meet her favorite characters from “Frozen” — Anna and Elsa and sing “Let It Go” with them.
“I had never seen this child smile so much in my life!” says Amanda. “I am so happy with the treatment we have received from all the doctors over the years. I couldn’t ask for better care – Akron Children’s treats us like family.”