Story by: Alexis Messmer on February 15, 2017
At just 13 years old, Mekinley Elrod has already traveled down a long medical road. Her journey began when she was 3 days old. Diagnosed with panhypopituitarism (no pituitary gland), she spent 2½ months at Norton Children’s Hospital, where she endured numerous surgeries, including heart surgery to repair a valve. She still spends a lot of time at the hospital because common illnesses and viruses can be a major threat requiring a stay in the hospital.
Despite Kinley’s difficult journey, she has an amazing spirit and a heart of gold. She wanted to give back to other kids at Norton Children’s and help them feel loved and supported, so she created Kinley’s Helping Hands. Kinley has hosted carnivals, toy drives and many other fundraising events to help kids at Norton Children’s Hospital.
She also has been involved with the hospital’s annual radiothon for the past three years. She tells her story and reads her poems about her experience with Norton Children’s Hospital.
Kinley was caped a “superhero” in September 2014, at Media Day at the hospital, where she read a poem that said, “Some superheroes wear capes, some superheroes can fly, but my type of superheroes wear scrubs and white jackets.”
“She is a go-getter,” said Traci Simonsen, executive director of the Children’s Hospital Foundation, in an interview with Wave 3 News. “I love this little girl.”
With the help of Kinley’s mother, Danielle, her father, Jeremy, and her many friends and family members, Kinley has raised more than $10,000 for patients’ families in need of financial assistance.