Help McKenzi Fight Multiple Sclerosis
When 18-year-old McKenzi Gordano learned that she had Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, she didn't know what to say. "I didn't have a first thought," she recalls. "I blanked out. And then I started crying."
But McKenzi, who was valedictorian of her senior class and is currently studying education at Northwestern State University, refuses to allow the diagnosis to slow her down.
"Doctors recommended that I quit college," says McKenzi. "I said, 'you're crazy!' The world needs another teacher and I'm going to be that teacher."
According to the National MS Society, Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) is a form 85 percent of those with the disease are initially diagnosed with. People like McKenzi face a lifetime of symptom flare-ups, which include impaired vision, numbness and fatigue, followed by sporadic periods where symptoms may subside.
McKenzi endured months of such symptoms before discovering she had MS.
"It started with numbness in my fingers and slowly spread to my hand, then my whole arm," she says. Eventually, it started affecting her vision, causing her to bump into doorways. She noticed her foot would become numb when driving, and she began slurring words while practicing school speeches.
A few weeks ago, McKenzi woke up seeing double and knew something was very wrong. Told by a doctor that there was a vertical nystagmus in her right eye, her mother Tina immediately made an appointment with a neural opthamologist who recommended that McKenzi receive an MRI. Right after the scan, she endured a spinal tap. Later that same day, she was told she had Multiple Sclerosis.
Though she will enjoy periods of time where no symptoms manifest, McKenzi will also need to give herself a shot for the rest of her life to help keep flare-ups in check -- something she admits she isn't exactly fond of. "I can't stand getting shots," she cringes.
Her mom Tina, who works with us here at Townsquare Shreveport, wishes she could just fix her daughter. "We're going to do everything we can to make sure McKenzi has a full, happy life," she says.
The Texas Roadhouse in Bossier City agreed. The restaurant is hosting a special fundraiser for McKenzi on Wednesday, September 19. Patrons who present the below form or simply say they want to help McKenzi between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. will have 10 percent of their bill donated by Texas Roadhouse to help cover her costly medical expenses.