“I can’t say enough positive things about children’s hospitals. I’m deeply appreciative and thankful for everything they have done for my daughter. I’m appreciative for their knowledge. And they always made us feel welcome with their positive upbeat attitude.”
So says Angie Purter about Children’s of Alabama, Birmingham. Angie’s 21-year-old daughter, Makyah, has been a patient of Children’s of Alabama since she was five years old.
“Makyah is a strong cookie”
Angie is our Area Operations Manager at America’s Car-Mart in Prattville, Ala. Here she shares Makyah’s story.
When Makyah was born, she was diagnosed with a trait of sickle cell anemia. At six months old, she ran a high temperature and after blood work, the doctors informed Angie that Makyah had sickle cell disease instead of just the trait. That is, Makyah carried the SS Sickle Cell Disease, the form of sickle cell that causes strokes.
Makyah had no issues until she was five years old. While playing with her cousin, the two toddlers bumped heads. Makyah was rushed to the hospital. The kids bumped so hard causing Makyah to have a concussion.
She wouldn’t eat or drink anything for two days, which caused her to become dehydrated, and that led to two strokes.
While at the hospital, another issue surfaced when her eyes crossed and stayed crossed. She was immediately sent to Children’s of Alabama where she was rushed to the Hematology Clinic to receive her first apheresis (blood transfusion). “If I had waited two hours longer, my baby would have died,” Angie recalls. “Her blood was black. She wasn’t getting any oxygen to her brain.”
Makyah spent a month at Children’s. Upon her release, she wore eye patches for six weeks while in kindergarten. And she healed perfectly with no side effects.
Growing up and for 16 years, Makyah has traveled to Children’s of Alabama twice a month for labs and a blood transfusion (to prevent strokes). She also experienced eight surgeries, five-port placements, spleen removal, gallbladder removal and brain surgery. She’s been hospitalized over 20 times.
“She’s a strong little cookie. I have a great God and I just pray a lot,” says Angie while adding Makyah was the ‘spoke child’ for Children’s Miracle Network from the age of 12 until she was 15. Makyah also helps her grandmother raise money every year for Children’s Miracle Network.
After every hospital visit, Makyah was rewarded with a trip to a jewelry store. “She’s a girly girl,” smiles Angie. “She was always fine and upbeat after the treatment.”
“The hospital made us feel very welcome.”
“Every visit, every hospital stay, everyone was and is always sweet and helpful.
They care like it’s their own child,” says Angie who was always impressed when the doctors would talk to her without Makyah’s chart. “They know their patients. And everyone loves Makyah.”
Makyah spent a few Christmases at the hospital. “I know what it feels like from a parent’s standpoint and having my child go pick out toys,” says Angie. “You get stuck at the hospital and wonder how you’re going to have Christmas for your kid.”
“Makyah loves to help.”
Drum roll, please – Makyah is in her last year of nursing school. Since the age of seven, she has known she wanted to be a nurse and work with kids with blood issues.
“Life with Sickle Cell isn’t the easiest, and it’s definitely not the most fun life to live, but it’s only given to the strongest and I make the best of it,” says Makyah, who will now text and talk to her nurses about her schooling.
“This is why I want to be a nurse. I am strong and I feel that God has allowed me to experience these things to prepare me to experience being a hematology/oncology pediatric nurse.”
When Makyah isn’t studying, she loves to travel. She loves to hang out with her friends, and she especially enjoys hanging with her 16-year-old brother Michael.
“I am so excited about Car-Mart’s toy drive.”
“I am grateful – from a parent’s standpoint – and a parent whose child received a toy,” says Angie.
“I am thrilled Car-Mart is having this toy drive to help put a smile on a child’s face during the holidays.”
And yes, both mom and daughter will help deliver the toys to the boys and girls at Children’s of Alabama. They wouldn’t miss it.
Want to help kids like Makyah?
Bring a toy (or two or three) to your local America’s Car-Mart. We’ll take it from there. In December, our Car-Mart associates will deliver the toys to the kids at 25 children’s hospitals in our 12-state area. Learn more about our Holiday Toy Drive.