In 2017, Makenna was a vibrant 3-year-old. One evening, my wife found a bump on her tummy that was diagnosed to be a Stage II Wilms Tumor. That moment was gut-wrenching when we were told. It was a tumor the size of a small football in her right kidney that was so large it was pushing on her left kidney. This type of tumor could rupture at any point and spread the cancer throughout her body if not treated immediately. So she had to have a kidney removed as a result. She battled that and 18 weeks of chemotherapy treatments. But she was then deemed cancer-free.
We had our family back. We had a wonderful summer that year. We went on her Make-A-Wish excursion to Disney and had many other family outings.
November 2019, when she was 6-years-old, we came in for her routine six month follow-up, the doctors discovered that her body was fighting yet another (more rare) form of cancer - Rhabdomyosarcoma which was located in her bladder. This meant chemotherapy for the next 42 weeks. It was long and hard, but she is now cancer-free and we have a lot of missed time to make up for.
To anyone that knows Makenna, they say her personality is huge. She brings such light to our family and everyone she meets. She is now in second grade and experiencing a full school year for the first time.
Our faith and our community got us through the darkest times. What we have learned through all of this is to ask for help when life gets tough. Makenna brought a community together unknowingly. She inspired many and continues to do so. We will play to celebrate the childhood that is sometimes postponed, but never taken for granted.