Bladen County’s recent fundraiser is going to help one of its own.
On Wednesday, the Shriners held their bi-annual fish fry and had a special guest — 4-year-old Khloe Lewis-Britt. Khloe, who turns 5 soon, has cerebral palsy.
“There were some complications with her birth,” explained Khloe’s mother, Amanda Britt. “She’s completely nonverbal, and they told us she would never walk.”
In weekly physical therapy since she was 6 months old, Khloe has been going to the Raleigh-Durham area for care. When she reached 3 years of age and started using a walker Britt noticed a problem with the way she was moving. The mother decided to get a second opinion.
Enter the Shriners.
“I don’t know why it was never discovered, but we took her to the Shriners, and they told us she has a 13q33 chromosome abnormality,” Britt explained. “The end of chromosome 33 is broken off.”
13q deletion syndrome is a rare genetic disease caused by the deletion of some or all of the large arm of human chromosome 13. Its symptoms vary in manifestation depending on which chromosome is deformed, and they can vary in severity. Most deletions are associated with intellectual disability, slow growth, and congenital malformations.
“She’s the happiest child,” Britt said. “She’s such a joy and a blessing.”
The family also found out from staff at Shriners Hospital that Khloe has double hip dysplasia, meaning both of her hips are out of socket.
“When I found out about that, everything fell into place,” Britt commented.
The hospital wants to do hip surgery and work on Khloe’s balance, but, since Khloe is prone to bronchitis and pneumonia during the winter, and the surgery means she will remain bedridden and on her back for six weeks, doctors and the family decided to wait until the winter is over to perform the surgery.
The family is now in the waiting stage, but last Wednesday, they decided to pay a visit to some of the men who are raising money to help children like Khloe. At the Shriners’ fish fry Wednesday, Khloe and her family were able to see the efforts being made and the support given locally to the Shriners Hospitals.
“As a mother, it makes you emotional,” Britt said, her voice breaking. “It’s almost like — you just feel the Lord’s presence, you know? All those men out there …“
A child leukemia survivor herself, Britt said it was easy to “feel like another number,” but she got the opposite feeling from the Shriners — what she called “a good feeling.”
“It was neat to see Khloe with them,” the mom said. “Khloe loves guys, and she was the happiest kid Wednesday.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing email@example.com.