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news News Tuesday, January 16, 2018 Tuesday, January 16, 2018 5:14 PM - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 5:14 PM

Fast recovery for Montana Shriners Kid

Fast recovery for Montana Shriners Kid

Standing in the kitchen, cleaning up after lunch, she heard, “Mom, my back hurts.” “Let me take a look, sweetie!” she replied. That’s how it started.

Christina looked at her daughter McKenzie’s back, and saw that it was indeed swollen. Two days later they saw their pediatrician who, after an X-ray, told Christina that her daughter had scoliosis. Being in southern Idaho at the time, they were referred to the Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City for specialty care. After two years of, in their words, "amazing care and trying to correct with TLSO braces" (a custom made torso brace aimed at either slowing or correcting spinal curvature) the family moved up to Great Falls, Montana. With the move came a transfer in care to the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Spokane.

“We went in knowing Shriners Hospitals were great,” said Christina, “but the way they crafted Kenzie’s new brace in Spokane was amazing: a quick scan and that was it! Way less invasive for our Kenzie!”

After a visit or two, it became clear that the bracing wasn’t going to be enough and surgery was scheduled. Christina and her husband Luke set out for Spokane with McKenzie, leaving a little early to spend some time at a water park and some quality girl time shopping in Spokane. The morning of the surgery was very emotional, but the family was welcomed with lots of smiles, love and comfort. McKenzie’s parents were reassured that surgery was going well every hour with a call from the surgical team. Once back in her room, mom and dad (not to mention her care staff) were impressed with McKenzie’s swift progress as she was up and walking that very night. “This began her road to recovery and discovering her inner rock star, as her nurse Kristin would soon help Kenzie discover,” said Christina.

McKenzie's hunting dream comes trueWhen you talk to McKenzie’s nurse, Kristin, she always gets a smile on her face. “McKenzie is a fun, loving, positive young lady, who is extremely strong and brave. Even though we pushed her past her comfort zone, she achieved all of her goals and almost always with a smile on her face. She had wonderful support from her parents. Looking back, I would go beyond saying McKenzie is a rock star; I would say the entire Stewart family are ROCKSTARS!”

Recreational therapist Larissa, who watched movies with McKenzie recalls, “What I remember most about McKenzie is her fun, positive attitude. That really helped speed along her recovery. She made my job fun because she always was ready to talk and laugh!”

Less than a year later, McKenzie’s progress continues to defy expectation. This summer McKenzie showed her pig for 4-H, earning two red ribbons. This fall, McKenzie achieved a goal of hers from before surgery: to go on her first hunting trip. Given everything we know about her, it is no surprise we are able to report that McKenzie filled her deer tag with a 2x2 buck! Turns out, the girl is a rock star at everything she does!