Graduating from high school made Makenzie Green particularly proud because significant health challenges forced her to finish her senior year from a St. Rose Dominican hospital bed and home.
One of those challenges, a Chiari I malformation, caused a portion of her brain to push through the opening at the base of her skull and press against her brainstem. Because it blocked the flow of Makenzie's cerebrospinal fluid, she experienced debilitating neural deficits.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican and its partner, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, helped see Makenzie through major surgery to address her Chiari I malformation and her senior year. "My nurses and child life specialist were so good to me," says Makenzie. "They went beyond making sure my medical needs were met in the hospital. They called and texted me at home to offer me help and encouragement. It made such a difference."
St. Rose Dominican and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals continue to keep in touch with Makenzie as she experiences life away from her home and hospital at Brigham Young University - Idaho. Makenzie, a Communications major, has her sights set on working for Children's Miracle Network or another nonprofit that advocates for children's health issues when she graduates.
Drake is "that kid" who stands out in a crowd. He has a big smile, a contagious laugh and an obvious love of life. Yet, in September of 2013, he was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of a primary bone cancer known as osteosarcoma.
Within two weeks of his diagnosis, Drake began receiving chemotherapy. Two months later, he had surgery to remove a tumor on his arm. Surgery was followed by an additional thirty weeks of chemotherapy and, a year after his initial diagnosis, a second limb-salvage surgery to remove bone and muscle affected by the osteosarcoma.
"When people hear about the intensity of Drake's treatment, they are often surprised and saddened - but he is always optimistic," says Richard, Drake's father.
"Even at this sickest, Drake had a smile on his face."
Cancer has left Drake without full use of his left arm and in need of ongoing physical therapy. But, his cancer is in remission and when he's not playing practical jokes, he paints and plays the piano, ukulele and ping pong.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican partners with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, the non-profit organization which raises funds for 170 children's hospitals across the United States and Canada. As partners, 100 percent of every dollar raised in southern Nevada goes to St. Rose Dominican's pediatric and neonatal care units to provide equipment, charity care, and health education for children.
Drake was St. Rose Dominican's Miracle Child of the Year and traveled to Disney World to attend Children's Miracle Network Hospitals' annual convention and to Washington, D.C. as St. Rose Dominican's Miracle Kid and Champion.