Mackenzie Rose was born on 11/11/2018 at 24 weeks and 5 days, weighing only 15 ounces at birth. With only a 2% chance of survival, Mackenzie chose to defy the odds. After 11 difficult months in the hospital, 4 surgeries/procedures, 6 PICC lines, over 215 blood draws/shots, 16 days paralyzed, 7 blood transfusions, Mackenzie finally came home happy and healthy for the first time after 310 days.
Through her journey, we (her parents) have inherited a new sense of hope, and our eyes have been opened to the struggles endured and miracles witnessed in the NICU. Through the inspiration of Mackenzie, Kenzie Kares Foundation was formed as an an opportunity to commemorate and celebrate her miraculous story through providing necessities for parents in the hospital parent lounges, establishing the Journey Beads program, assisting with training and teaching for families coming home with special needs children, and supporting families in crisis through a family relief fund.
Journey Beads is a program we started along with the team at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center NICU in Phoenix. It's a program offered to families that encourages them (with the help of a program guide and staff) to build a string of beads to signify each child's journey through the NICU. Each bead signifies a different part of their journey, such as blood draws (red bead), or a new bead for each day they spend in the NICU (yellow bead).
We formed our Family Relief Fund in order to monetarily assist families who may need a little help. Whether that's through providing gas or food gift cards, babysitting assistance so parents can spend time with their child in the NICU, or assisting with paying for hotel stays near the hospital for those families who live far away (among other ways).
Through our experience with a special needs child, we have learned that there is a clear disconnect between the training the hospital provides and the experience of caring for a special needs child in a home environment. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the critical training of how to care for the needs of a medically fragile child that you learn inpatient, and the home life experience of caring for these needs.
We've committed to renovating the parent lounge at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center NICU. It's important to harbor a welcoming environment for parents and families as they spend countless hours, days, and nights in the NICU with their little ones. Efforts we seek to provide are snacks, toiletries, fresh coffee, magazines and reading materials, comfortable furniture, and a clean environment.
Kenzie Kares Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit charitable organization that seeks to support the community with every dollar accumulated. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.