BEN­E­FIT

Fundraiser planned for tod­dler with E. coli

Valley Journal Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - BY CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UNDERHILL WWW.HANTSJOURNAL.CA cmor­ris-underhill@hantsjournal.ca

Vickie Kennedy bursts into tears just think­ing about her grand­daugh­ter and the long road to re­cov­ery that lies ahead.

Her voice cracks as she tries to de­scribe Makayla Mil­bury – who, at just two years old, has had to fight for her life.

“It just makes me so sad,” said Kennedy, look­ing at be­fore and af­ter photos of the lit­tle girl.

Kennedy is busy or­ga­niz­ing a fundraiser to help bring Makayla home from the hos­pi­tal – and she hopes the com­mu­nity will chip in.

Makayla cel­e­brated her sec­ond birth­day with her sis­ter, MacKen­zie, on Aug. 7, 2016. The vi­brant, play­ful child, who was al­ways full of smiles and cud­dles, shared a strong bond with her twin sis­ter.

“Makayla was the leader. She was the one that would take MacKen­zie by the hand and they’d go sit on the stairs and they’d talk. We wouldn’t un­der­stand them but they knew what they were say­ing to each other,” said Kennedy.

“She would go get a di­a­per and put it un­der MacKen­zie and tell her mother ‘it’s time to change her’ – and now it’s re­versed.”

Tragic in­fec­tion

Kennedy’s voice soft­ens as she re­calls the events lead­ing up to Makayla’s ex­tended hos­pi­tal stay.

Last year, Makayla’s fa­ther, Dana Mil­bury, fell ill. Then her el­dest brother, Ethan, came down with a sim­i­lar sick­ness near the end of Au­gust.

“They ended up tak­ing Ethan to the hos­pi­tal here in Windsor. They said he had the flu and sent him home,” said Kennedy, adding that the hos­pi­tal later called when blood work re­sults in­di­cated the pres­ence of E. coli.

He was sick for about 10 days. Two days af­ter he got bet­ter, Makayla got sick and MacKen­zie fol­lowed suit three days later. MacKen­zie quickly bounced back; Makayla didn’t.

“They took the girls to the hos­pi­tal two or three times be­fore they fi­nally ended up tak­ing Makayla, by am­bu­lance, to the IWK,” said Kennedy.

Makayla was hos­pi­tal­ized. Ini­tially, she was suf­fer­ing from E. coli poi­son­ing, but com­pli­ca­tions soon arose.

She ended up in the in­ten­sive care unit and placed in a med­i­cally in­duced coma in an ef­fort to help her body fight back. The E. coli in­fec­tion wreaked havoc, caus­ing prob­lems with her pan­creas, kid­neys and brain.

Makayla’s par­ents – Tracy and Dana Mil­bury – haven’t been able to work since the or­deal be­gan about eight months ago. When one par­ent is at the hos­pi­tal, the other is at home car­ing for their three other chil­dren.

“It’s a sin. The whole fam­ily has changed,” said Kennedy.

Makayla is alert now, and on the mend, but Kennedy said the young­ster will have life­long med­i­cal needs. She has brain dam­age and can­not walk.

“It’s just a sad, sad, thing that should have never hap­pened. She should have been home months and months ago,” said Kennedy.

Fundraiser planned

And get­ting her home to Cen­tre Burling­ton is just what Kennedy in­tends to help the fam­ily do.

She’s hop­ing the June 10 din­ner and auc­tion that she’s host­ing at the Cen­tre Burling­ton Com­mu­nity Hall will raise enough funds for the Mil­burys to ren­o­vate their house to make it wheel­chair ac­ces­si­ble and to help off­set travel ex­penses re­lated to med­i­cal ap­point­ments, plus phys­io­ther­apy and speech ther­apy ses­sions.

The spaghetti sup­per will run from 2-6 p.m., with the silent and live auc­tion to fol­low. She’s also sell­ing raf­fle tick­ets on a Mol­son Coors bar fridge, with the draw sched­uled for the long week­end in Au­gust.

“What we’re ask­ing for is the com­mu­ni­ties in this area to all pull to­gether for this fundraiser,” said Kennedy, who has also been rais­ing aware­ness of her grand­daugh­ter’s plight in her home prov­ince of New Brunswick. She spends weeks at a time in Nova Sco­tia to help.

“We need to raise close to

$40,000.”

SUBMITTED

Makayla Mil­bury, left, and her twin sis­ter, MacKen­zie, share a special bond. This photo was taken shortly be­fore the girls came into con­tact with E. coli. MacKen­zie re­cov­ered quickly; Makayla suf­fered com­pli­ca­tions and now has brain dam­age.

SUBMITTED

Tracy and Dana Mil­bury are hop­ing to bring their daugh­ter, Makayla, home soon. The pair have been tak­ing turns car­ing for her in the hos­pi­tal, chang­ing shifts ev­ery three days.

SUBMITTED

MacKen­zie Mil­bury com­forts her twin sis­ter Makayla, who has been in the hos­pi­tal since shortly af­ter turn­ing two years old.

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