This is the first in an occasional series “Small but Strong.” While Eyewitness News Anchor Shannon Hegy’s son Carter was at Hasbro Children’s Hospital battling bacterial meningitis she met many other children battling medical odds. It was a sad reality, but the kids’ strength, perseverance and positive attitude in spite of what they were going through was truly awe-inspiring. That’s where the idea of Small but Strong was born.
WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – Makayla Lindberg’s therapist at the Early Learning Center at Drum Rock in Warwick is constantly reminding Makayla to slow down, but that’s the last thing the spunky 4-year-old wants to do.
Affectionately known as “KK” by family and friends, Makayla has faced medical obstacles from birth – her first diagnosis was an eye condition.
“For the most part, she’s blind in the right eye, but it never slows her down,” her father, Brian Lindberg, explained.
Brian and Meredith Lindberg knew Makayla’s eye condition would come with struggles, but they had no idea that there was an even more serious diagnosis ahead.
When KK wasn’t reaching her milestones, they got an MRI of her brain. The diagnosis came on Christmas Day, dropped on them like a bomb – KK had a brain tumor.
Located between her optic nerve and pituitary gland, the tumor is in too delicate of an area for doctors to operate. The threat of it growing is a very real fear for the Lindbergs, but they say KK’s attitude keeps them going.
“She helps you get through it because you’d never know half the things we just told you by looking at her,” Meredith said.
“You try not to let it bog you down” Brian added. “You try to do as many things that other kids are doing.”
KK’s parents and therapists say she’s made incredible strides since enrolling at Drum Rock about two years ago.
“She will do anything,” explained her therapist, Joanne Mortimer. “She’s a delight. She’s really hard to bring back to class because she never stops. She never quits. She’ll try anything. She’s fearless.”
With all the steps KK’s taken, the Lindbergs are now taking steps of their own and have launched a brain tumor walk similar to the one held in Boston every year, but this one is right here in Rhode Island.
“If we can help one other person either learn from Makayla or with the money we raise, then we’ve done something good,” Meredith said.
The walk will be held April 15 at 10 a.m. at Goddard Park in Warwick. The Lindbergs are still looking for participants. Click here for more information.
If you know a child who you think is Small but Strong, email Shannon at SHegy@wpri.com.