McKenah never got a fair shot. Her birth mother never received the prenatal care she needed. As a result, she came into this world 12 weeks before she was ready. Shortly thereafter, she acquired a severe infection of the intestine. In a matter of days, 98 percent of the intestine was gone. The intensity of the inflammation from the infection in her 3 pound, little body damaged her brain and would leave her unable to even sit up when other kids her age were walking. She would never be able to use her words because she would never talk.
Kris was her neonatal nurse and took care of McKenah almost every day for the first 4 months of her life. When McKenah had no home go to, Kris became her foster mom and then adopted her. Kris’s other kids loved McKenah or McKenley as they referred to her. No one, however, was ever under the illusion that McKenah would live a long or normal life. So they didn’t hold back. For more than 3 years after she left the hospital, they took her everywhere, swimming with dolphins in the Keys, boat rides on the Madison lakes. Endless rides in the stroller when Kris was out running. However, at the age of three, McKenah died on a Monday, at home, loved but a life devastated by a disease that is largely preventable.