Imagine never knowing the sensation of tickled feet, never dipping your toes in a running stream, never feeling the sand between your toes. Eight year-old Kyndle has never known these seemingly insignificant experiences that most of us so often take for granted.
Her parents, Katie and John, have never had to comfort their crying daughter after she skins her knee or stubs her toe. Instead, because Kyndle has no sensation below the hip, her parents must be ever attentive to make sure she does not have a scrape on her leg or blister on her toe. The smallest wound which, for most, would be inconvenient at best, has the potential to become a life-threatening infection for Kyndle. Unfortunately, an emergency room visit for Kyndle is as routine as going to the grocery store for everyone else. In only eight years, she has endured thirteen surgeries.
Kyndle’s first surgery occurred when she was only two days old in which an opening in her back was repaired. The opening, which left a portion of her spinal cord exposed, was due to Myelomeningocele Spina Bifida. Spina bifida is characterized by incomplete closure of certain bones of the spinal column. Myelomeningocele is the most severe form of Spina Bifida because it causes partial or complete paralysis of the parts of the body below the spinal opening. Because of her diagnosis, Kyndle has never taken an unassisted step in her life. She relies on a walker or wheelchair for mobility.