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April 16, 2014

Bravery

Kyndal Patrick, 4, shows a lot of guts & even more heart in fighting sudden illness

PINE KNOT —  Kyndal Patrick appears to be like any other little girl on the verge of turning five.

    She’s talkative, full of energy and obsessed with the Disney movie Frozen. The only noticeable difference is how well she gets along with her little brother, Kyler, who’s two.

    But Kyndal just recently came home after 53 days in East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

    Her parents, Kyle and Alicia Patrick, first noticed Kyndal becoming ill as they celebrated Kyler’s birthday on January 5. It would be another month before the little girl was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC), a chronic inflammation of the colon that more often strikes older children and young adults.

“It’s really rare to be diagnosed at her age,” Alicia said, adding that UC’s initial onset can often be managed through medication and dietary changes.

    However in Kyndal’s case, the disease was particularly aggressive. She lost 11 pounds and underwent four blood transfusions before her medical team recommended that Kyndal undergo surgery to have her colon removed.

    Kyndal’s first surgery was performed on March 28, and she was able to come home just a few days later. Alicia said Kyndal will have two more surgeries, hopefully before she starts kindergarten this fall.

    In the meantime, Kyndal is adjusting to her lifestyle changes and hoping to return to dance class, where she enjoys ballet, and preschool, where she loves reading time and riding the bus. For now, she enjoys playing with her brother in their playhouse.

    “Kyler wasn’t able to come to the hospital because he is so young,” Alicia explained. “They really missed each other.”

    For Kyndal, the worst part of her hospital stay was “a lot of finger pokes,” when the nurses would check her blood and PICC line while she was on liquid nutrition. The hospital’s Child Life program involved her in activities from board games to painting, for which she shows particular promise.

    Alicia also praised the Ronald McDonald House where the family stayed as well as the local community who have been so supportive during Kyndal’s illness. The family wishes to send special thanks to the Eagle-Sawyer Volunteer Fire Department, Eagle Baptist youth group, and Trinity Temple Church of God. A special greeting from Kyndal appears in this edition on Page 13A.

    “People we didn’t even know were sending us things,” Alicia said, showing the reporter a booklet made by a local kindergarten class.

    The support the family has received has inspired them to give back. They have been selling T-shirts (250 so far) emblazoned with the message “Life Takes Guts” with proceeds going to the Children’s Hospital, Child Life, a scholarship program for IBD patients, and Ronald McDonald House.

    “I wanted Kyndal to know what it’s like to give back to kids like her,” Alicia said. “We just thank God she’s home.”

    The shirts are being sold for $12 each and can be purchased by contacting either Alicia Patrick or Kyle Patrick on Facebook.

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Teresa Phillips

Teresa Phillips

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