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  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: A matter of life and breath for Makenzie Forbes

  • It has been a long, hard road for Makenzie Forbes, 22, Parsons, but she’ll be breathing easier in the miles to come.

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  • It has been a long, hard road for Makenzie Forbes, 22, Parsons, but she’ll be breathing easier in the miles to come.
    Forbes, daughter of Jennifer and Mike Forbes, was born with cystic fibrosis which, over the years, diminished the ability of her lungs to supply her body with oxygen.
    Finally, the only treatment option available was a double lung transplant, which she underwent late Wednesday night at the University of Texas - Southwestern Hospital.
    Cindy Bennett, sister of Jennifer Forbes, reported that her sister told her the lungs were in and working, and that Makenzie was doing well. She will need to remain in the Dallas area a minimum of three months following the operation.
    Her old lungs, filled with thick mucous, had been plagued with infections for years.
    “Makenzie is on oxygen all the time and it’s difficult for her to function,” Forbes said in an earlier telephone interview from the Dallas area hospital. “She’s functioning at 19 percent lung power. Things we don’t think twice about doing are extremely difficult for her. She has to take a nap after a shower. When her lung function hit 27 percent, her doctors in Kansas City said it was time to explore a lung transplant. The University of Texas at Southwestern was the first to get back to her. She ended up in the hospital on a ventilator, so the Dallas doctors decided to fast-list her for a transplant. We hope it will come soon.”
    While waiting, Makenzie was on about six kinds of antibiotics at the hospital to kill her infections so they wouldn’t be able to re-infect her new lungs.
    “They’re trying to get her to the best place she can be in,” her mother said.
    While most people think of the devastating effects cystic fibrosis has on a patient’s lungs, Forbes said the disease can affect virtually the entire body.
    “Makenzie was born with a mucous plug in her intestines and had to undergo surgery,” she said. “Her liver is full of mucous and there are lots of nutrition issues, sinus issues. Every organ is going to be involved with the disease. Also, a lot of anxiety and depression goes along with it.”
    Makenzie’s sister Ally, 18, was also born with CF, but has been spared some of the complications that have troubled her sister. She does breathing treatments and physical therapy, and her lung function is much better. She attends Pittsburg State University and enjoys an active life.
    “The girls are really strong,” Forbes said. “We’re really lucky because we have family and friends to help us, including fundraising. We have good insurance that will pay for the transplant, but there are still travel expenses, day to day expenses, medications.”
    Page 2 of 2 - A Cajun shrimp boil and silent auction fundraiser for the Children’s Organ Transplant Association in honor of Makenzie Forbes will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. April 19 at 302 Main, Parsons, in the old Aarons Rent to Own building.
    Featured will be shrimp, potatoes, sausage, bread, beverages and cookies at a cost of $20 for ages 13 and older, $10 for ages 6 to 12 and free for children under 5.
    Checks may be made payable to COTA Fundraiser, 1609 Union Ave., Parsons, Kan., 67357, Attn. Chris. Online donations may be made at the COTA web site http://cota.donorpages.com/PatientOnlineDonation/COTAforMakenzieF/ in the name of Makenzie and Ally Forbes.
    Jennifer Forbes, who grew up in Pittsburg and has many family members and friends in the area, said that donations may also be dropped off at the Kansas Teachers Credit Union in Pittsburg.

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