Foun­da­tion Fo­cuses On Diges­tive Dis­eases

The Oakdale Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By TERESA HAM­MOND tham­mond@oak­dale­leader.com

Kyle MacFar­lane’s child­hood dreams were like most sports lov­ing boys. His ca­reer as­pi­ra­tion sim­ple – play pro­fes­sional baseball.

“I’ve loved baseball my whole life,” Kyle said, not­ing his fam­ily’s pas­sion for the sport. “That’s my fa­vorite sport.

“My dad taught us to play all po­si­tions, to show us that we can do any­thing we put our minds to,” he shared.

At the age of 15, how­ever, that changed for the young baseball en­thu­si­ast, as he be­came in­ex­pli­ca­bly ill.

“He was very rarely sick as a child,” Cindy MacFar­lane said of her son. “Around 14 or 15 he be­gan vom­it­ing and we couldn’t con­trol it.”

It was an ill­ness which proved to be both a mys­tery, as well as frus­trat­ing for the teen and his par­ents as they sought an­swers. The com­bi­na­tion of over­all good health (aside from the vom­it­ing), be­ing ac­tive and test­ing neg­a­tive for all food al­ler­gies and in­testi­nal dis­eases, left doc­tors puz­zled and of lit­tle help.

Even­tu­ally the ill­ness made daily at­ten­dance of high school im­pos­si­ble. Then liv­ing in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Cindy shared teach­ers would come to their home to help Kyle stay cur­rent in his stud­ies. In 2006, de­spite con­tin­u­ing to live with the mys­tery ill­ness Kyle com­pleted high school. Later that year they re­lo­cated to Oak­dale.

His hopes of at­tend­ing col­lege were short-lived as the vom­it­ing con­tin­ued even­tu­ally re­sult­ing in hos­pi­tal­iza­tion on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions. Dur­ing this time Kyle had tran­si­tioned from a once healthy 187-pound ac­tive male to 145 on a good day.

Still at a loss, at the age of 19 with hope of help­ing what seemed to be a diges­tive dis­or­der, his gall­blad­der was re­moved. Yet to no avail.

By 2007 pan­cre­atic can­cer was ruled out, yet doc­tors dis­cov­ered bile sit­ting in the young pa­tient’s stom­ach, in­di­cat­ing a prob­lem with motil­ity.

“No­body knows about motil­ity,” Cindy said. “Motil­ity is the move­ment of the mus­cles to help di­gest your food.”

Dur­ing this time the fam­ily crossed paths with Dr. Linda Nguyen, who was their doc­tor at Cal­i­for­nia Pa­cific Hos­pi­tal in San Francisco at the time. Dr. Nguyen now holds res­i­dency at Stan­ford Med­i­cal. Nguyen spe­cial­izes in Gas­troen­terol­ogy and Hepa­tol­ogy.

Kyle weighed 109 pounds at the time and was im­me­di­ately ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal. He re­mained there for two months.

“Dur­ing that time, they dis­cov­ered his stom­ach emp­ties too fast,” Cindy said of her son’s con­di­tion.

A shot ad­min­is­tered daily proved to re­solve the prob­lem and aid with proper di­ges­tion of his food. It also re­sulted in the young adult de­vel­op­ing Type 1 Di­a­betes for its high su­gar con­tent. There is no his­tory of di­a­betes in Kyle’s fam­ily.

“It was a big life changer,” Kyle said of his jour­ney through trial and tribu­la­tion. “Ba­si­cally flipped my life 180 de­grees. At first it took a lot to be­come ac­cus­tomed to my ill­ness and how to deal with it.”

Kyle shared he no longer feels a dif­fer­ence, stay­ing mind­ful of his in­sulin, proper nu­tri­tion and ex­er­cise.

His new­found pas­sion for proper nu­tri­tion and over­all diges­tive health, cou­pled with his own per­sonal strug­gles from ini­tial trial and er­ror for di­ag­no­sis prompted the found­ing of the Kyle MacFar­lane Foun­da­tion, a 501c(3) not for profit.

“My main goal was to cre­ate the foun­da­tion for aware­ness,” he said of his ini­tial idea. “Let them know what they need to do and they’re not alone.”

Ac­cord­ing to Cindy, the goal of the foun­da­tion be­came big­ger than that, as the two nav­i­gated get­ting the foun­da­tion started in 2011. Non-profit sta­tus was ac­quired in 2014.

“With the foun­da­tion we have learned that diges­tive dis­eases are the fastest grow­ing with chil­dren and adults cur­rently,” Cindy said. “We wanted to take it fur­ther than those who are cur­rently ill. We wanted to ed­u­cate kids that are healthy.”

Kyle echoed his mother’s thoughts, not­ing the im­por­tance of per­sonal ed­u­ca­tion, as well as cre­at­ing ex­cite­ment for chil­dren in the way of un­der­stand­ing the plus side to proper nu­tri­tion. The foun­da­tion’s “Hands on Nu­tri­tion” pro­gram is one they hope to take to schools through­out the Oak­dale Joint Uni­fied School Dis­trict, as well as the Cen­tral Val­ley.

In or­der to do so, to make it dy­namic and ex­cit­ing, the mother/son team has an elec­tric mo­tor­cy­cle as “live” demon­stra­tion for the stu­dents. One side fea­tures the bad food and its ef­fects on the body, while the other side does the ex­act op­po­site.

“The body diges­tive sys­tem is just like a ve­hi­cle,” Kyle said. “If you eat all the good stuff that main­tains it. You take care of it and it’s go­ing to last with­out com­pli­ca­tions. Just like a car or mo­tor­cy­cle.”

The mo­tor­cy­cle will be on dis­play for the first time this Satur­day, Oct. 28 for the in­au­gu­ral Kyle MacFar­lane Foun­da­tion Community Health Fair. The event will be hosted at Gene Bianchi Community Cen­ter from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“I have to hand it to Kyle, he’s very pos­i­tive,” Cindy said of her son and his pas­sion for mak­ing a dif­fer­ence through the foun­da­tion. “He told me once, maybe God gave me this to help oth­ers and ed­u­cate oth­ers. Maybe that’s what my call­ing’s for.

“He’s very pas­sion­ate about help­ing oth­ers and bring­ing aware­ness to all of this,” she added. “He’s pas­sion­ate about ed­u­ca­tion so no one else gets sick.”

“It’s kind of why the foun­da­tion was started,” Kyle said. “Why get mad or de­pressed. Why not make some­thing good out of it and help some­one get through the sit­u­a­tion.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Kyle MacFar­lane Foun­da­tion visit www.kylemac­far­lane­foun­da­tion.com or find it on Face­book at The Kyle MacFar­lane Foun­da­tion, Inc.

Satur­day’s event is open to all in the community.

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