PHOENIX - From a star gymnast to a patient at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, things have been tough for a Valley teen. But, PCH didn't just save her life. They made it exciting by coordinating the surprise of a lifetime from country superstar Garth Brooks!
McKindree Patton was a high level competitive gymnast.
"I would spend hours and hours at the gym," says the 17-year-old.
And while her an ambitious edge and fighting spirit helped make her a star, it's also the reason why she's still alive today.
"My body gave out on me," McKindree says. "I just had to stop. I thought I'd never get sick. That just wasn't my path."
Doctors diagnosed McKindree with Diamond Blackfan Anemia, an extremely rare blood disorder that requires blood transfusions every 4 weeks, since she was just 12 years old.
"We stopped counting -- over 300," she estimates in that time.
But, then, another blow. She needed a transplant after an abnormal result on her bone marrow biopsy. Unexpected complications meant McKindree had to stay at Phoenix Children's Hospital for 10 months straight.
"That was a very hard time," she says.
With gymnastics out of the picture, McKindree chose to focus on a new hobby.
"I've gotten into photography and fashion and blogging," she says.
Her hope and passion for life is so evident, the wonderful people at PCH created a very special moment just for her, when Country Superstar Garth Brooks visited the Valley on his World Tour.
A personal meet-and-greet and invitation to his concert was exciting enough. But, then, he gave her a gift.
"It was all of this photography equipment for me! It was really cool. I got teary-eyed. It just made me feel really grateful," McKindree remembers.
A special night to forget her ambitious fight and feel the freedom of learning to live again.
We encourage you to help spread "healing and hope" to kids just like McKindree by donating to our ABC15 telethon benefitting PCH.