- BC Games
Funds from garage sale going to family of a young girl needing brain surgery
A young girl's battle with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex has family and friends rallying to organize a fundraising garage sale and to spread awareness about the disease.
Kenzie Lynn Hamilton is just 2 1/2 years old and was diagnosed with TSC in 2011 at the age of six months. She's currently on three different medications, experiences multiple seizures daily and is scheduled to have brain surgery Sept. 27 at B.C. Children's Hospital in Vancouver.
TSC is a genetic disorder that causes benign tumors to grow in all the organs in the body. Its affect on the central nervous system causes seizures and other developmental conditions such as autism or behavioural problems.
Common occurrences such as aggression and raging outbursts cause all sorts of challenges for parents.
There are obviously considerable costs for parents Dusty and Tracy (nee Wiersma) Hamilton to get treatment and care for Kenzie and that's when the idea of the fundraising garage sale materialized. It will take place Saturday, Sept. 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 5861 Jaynes Road in Duncan.
Kenzie literally needs one-on-one care, said her grandmother Wendy Tague.
"The family needs respite care as well as her medication is a lot of money per month,'' she said. "We don't have all kinds of money to spend.''
People have been most supportive of donating items and all sorts of things will be available at the garage sale, with proceeds going to the family. There are enough items for the sale, it's just a matter of getting some patrons to come out and make purchases that will provide a big financial and morale boost.
"She's going to have this for life,'' said Tague. "It does not go away.
"We're getting a lot of support from all family members — everybody. We love her. I would say she's my little kindred spirit, that girl. She has everybody behind her. We stand united.''
Mom Tracy Hamilton noted people are often not diagnosed with TSC until the onset of seizures or until they have children with a more severe case.
"I largely attribute her early diagnosis to our family doctor,'' she pointed out. "She did not know what Kenzie's white spots were and, although she didn't think they were concerning, she gave us a referral to a dermatologist anyway.
"The dermatologist was not able to give a diagnosis, but happened to have a meeting with other dermatologists later that day and suggested we come back for that time. I think about six different specialists all took rounds looking at Kenzie and, again, did not suspect anything serious, but suggested going to Children's Hospital just to be sure of what it actually was. It was there that we were shocked with Kenzie's diagnosis.''
Hamilton added Tuberous Sclerosis is not well-known, but it's more common than Cystic Fibrosis or Lou Gehrig's disease and — as in Kenzie's case — up to 70% of cases are the result of random mutations and can be inherited from either parent with the condition.
Hamilton noted she hopes Kenzie's journey will help raise awareness about the disease. Kenzie is receiving her first-ever haircut before her surgery and those long locks will be donated to cancer for the making of wigs.
Surgery is obviously worrisome for the Hamiltons, but they know it's Kenzie's best option at this point.
"Surgery done earlier is known to have better outcomes,'' Tracy Hamilton reasoned. "Kenzie still has few words, and has regressed in her speech since last year. She has also been having raging outbursts and aggression.
"Our daughter may never be a normal child but we love her so much and don't strive for her to be normal. We just want her to be happy. Hopefully, surgery makes that difference for her.''