When Pamela Reeves was pregnant with her daughter MacKenzie, her obstetrician noticed that her legs were not forming as they should.
“We didn’t fully understand the issue until after the delivery,” said Pamela. “I felt blindsided when I was told MacKenzie had PFFD.”
PFFD – proximal femoral focal deficiency – is a rare, non-hereditary birth defect that affects the pelvis, particularly the hip bone, and the proximal femur. In addition to PFFD, MacKenzie was also born with a cleft palate and had several issues with her heart.
Pamela was referred to Alabama’s Early Intervention System and Children’s Rehabilitation Service (CRS) when MacKenzie left the NICU at three months of age.
“At that moment, we had God right there watching over us,” Pamela said. “I knew there was nothing I could do to change any of this, so I just asked myself, ‘How can I help her?’ Our journey brought us to ADRS.”
Early Intervention responded to the Reeves’ needs by providing speech, occupational, and physical therapies for MacKenzie, and a strong support network for Mom.
CRS first served MacKenzie’s mobility needs by providing her with a power wheelchair when she was a year old. MacKenzie was also provided with a manual chair when she was capable of maneuvering it on her own.
“Some people may think it’s dangerous to provide a power chair to a child so young, but it’s quite the opposite,” said CRS Occupational Therapist Lynn Bates. “Mobility is really important, because it’s how kids learn. They explore their environment, and they learn about what’s going on by interacting with it.”
Following a double Boyd amputation of MacKenzie’s feet, CRS now serves MacKenzie’s mobility needs by providing her with a 7-inch walker custom-made for her by CRS staff. Such an item is not commercially available, but was needed to assist MacKenzie’s strengthening process for artificial prostheses in the future.
“CRS watches her to see how she moves,” said Pamela. “I know that they are here for her benefit and to help make her mobility better. Her confidence builds as her mobility improves. I want her to be able to not look at her disability and say, ‘I can’t do that.’ She can do anything she wants to do, and she does.”
CRS is also working with Early Intervention in preparing MacKenzie for the next step of entering Morgan County Public Schools. CRS will coordinate with the local school system to set an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in place so MacKenzie can maintain her therapy services while being enrolled in public school.
“She’s mine, and I’m just happy,” Pamela said. “I know she will be something in her life. I know she has a purpose. She makes my day and makes me want to be a mom. It gives me a smile on my face to just watch her grow and move and be able to play and laugh and be a normal 2-year-old. Early Intervention and CRS are there to push her and to push me to help get her ready, and I’m so thankful.”
This story is part of an occasional series – entitled Success17 – highlighting the accomplishments of ADRS consumers. It and subsequent stories in the series will appear in the 2017 ADRS Annual Report.