CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - 12-year-old Kyndal Herman has an invisible disease.
This Caldwell County girl lives with Cystic Fibrosis.
“She faces struggles every day and has since 5-months-old,” mom Casey said from their home in Hudson. “You just can’t see them. At first, I wasn’t sure if she was ‘sick enough’ to be one of #MollysKids because there aren’t clues that indicate the illness. But then I thought, if I didn’t ask for my own child, who would?”
So glad you wrote, Casey. OF COURSE we'd love to welcome Kyndal. #MollysKids are kids in the extended Charlotte-area who face uphill medical battles... doesn’t matter if it’s critical or not. The fact Kyndal doesn’t “look sick,” as you said, and “seems normal” might be even more reason to write about her to educate us all.
So here goes my breakdown of Kyndal's life with CF:
1) She goes through minimum 2 hours of treatment every day.
2) There are days she has to fight just to breathe.
3) That’s normal.
4) CF makes her more susceptible to infections.
5) She has to avoid germs...
6) ...meaning Kyndal is often isolated.
7) CF is a genetic, degenerative illness.
8) It'll take an increasing toll on Kyndal the older she gets.
Recently, Kyndal has had terrible stomach issues. Her mom says they’ve gotten “significantly worse” with side effects that include neuropathy and hypersensitivity. They’ve gone to the hospital, asked experts… nothing has helped. Casey says she feels helpless that she can’t help the pain Kyndal feels, and no one seems to know how to get rid of it.
“As far as her lungs go, she hasn’t had any exacerbation since August,” Casey said. “Fingers crossed we can keep her home through the winter.”
With all that said, Kyndal likes to play sports and doesn’t like to let CF limit her abilities. This admirable resolve, however, is sometimes weakened by her feeding tube and battle for breath.
To put it simply, Kyndal has to be careful if she’s active.
“It’s not easy,” Casey said. “But Kyndal is wanting to spread the word and teach everyone about CF kids. She gets her treatments at Brenner Children's Hospital in Winston-Salem. She smiles, even when she doesn’t feel good. She wants to know how others are doing. She laughs and tells jokes while sitting in the hospital bed hooked up to IVs. But she doesn’t want people feeling badly for her. She’s an incredible daughter. She’s driven. She’s passionate. The disease is a part of her life, not her whole life.”
Casey’s Momma-pride is rooted in many things, one being a Facebook page Kyndal started -- Kyndal's Crew – to help give updates about her battles, and also to try and get help for other kids at Brenner’s.
“Despite her feeling crummy, she really wants to take things to the hospital for other kids,” Casey said. “She noticed not all patients are fortunate enough to have visitors like family and friends to distract from treatments and long stays, so she made a wish list with items she can then give to other hospitalized kids: Sheets, markers, LEGOs, art kits, etc. She gets these donations and then delivers batches to other pediatric patients.”
Ambition and generosity = powerful things.
Keep smiling, Kyndal. Welcome to #MollysKids.
*Editor’s note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there, which is why it’s written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story and updates on all #MollysKids here.