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March 22, 2014

Teen battling kidney disease hopes to help other youths with chronic conditions

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — GROWING UP FAST

Grace now makes the majority of her decisions when it comes to her treatment.

“She has educated herself and knows as much about it as we do,” Patti said.

Grace has agreed to try a new drug called Rituximab, which will be given to her intravenously in a one-time, six-hour treatment. She hopes that will help put her into remission.

She has given up gluten, dairy and sodium and makes much of her own food — kale chips are her favorite — to keep herself healthy.

Grace has put together a guide called, “Living with Nephrotic Syndrome,” which explains the disease and what to expect to patients and parents. She hopes to have it printed soon.

“I didn’t have anything like that when I got sick and it would have helped,” she said.

She has decided to start a ministry to help young people struggling with chronic illness and other issues.

“I was listening to our youth pastor (Steve Mikulski) speak and he asked each of us what we would do for a ministry,” she said. “And all of a sudden I realized — I have something to offer because of what I’ve been through. I told my mom, I know what my purpose is. I’ve always had self-image issues and I plan on meeting with young people who are going through the same things I went through.

“I got to thinking,” Grace added, “what if all things really do happen for a reason and the reason I got this disease was because God knew I was strong enough to get through it and that I could use the knowledge I have gained to help other people though issues they are having.”

Patty said Grace’s grit has renewed her determination to get past her disease.

“She feels like God has a purpose for her. And so do we. God spared her for a reason and we now think we know what it is.”

(Email: kcubbal@ncnewsonline.com).



 

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