If Kiana Mauskemo were granted one wish it would be this — just to be a normal, everyday, St. Charles 13-year-old seventh grader.
Right now, sadly, that’s not the case.
“She loves to play sports, especially soccer and basketball, but she simply can’t,” said her mother, Jamie Mauskemo. “She will help coach second-grade soccer this spring and that helps, but now the main thing is she is really fatigued all the time. It has gotten to the point where she can’t attend school full time.”
At the age of 6, Kiana was diagnosed with progressive crescentic glomerulonephritis, which is a fancy description to say she is seriously sick. In a nutshell, both of her kidneys were severely damaged and at the time her family was told to prepare for a possible transplant.
The wait continues, eight years later.
“At some point,” Jamie said, “her kidneys will no longer be able to keep up with her growing body and that’s when we will be put on the transplant list.”
Kiana was diagnosed in November 2008 and then underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and steroidal infusions. She was at Stage 5 but did manage to improve, and at one point regained some function.
Which was short-lived.
“Her kidney function made it up to 57 percent, once,” said her mother, “but in December that had dropped to 23 percent. It is not getting better.”
This is a catch-22. The family hopes the decline continues because once her function declines to 20 percent or less, she will begin the transplant evaluation and be put on a waiting list for a transplant.
Everybody is praying for that to happen and it could happen soon. There is another doctor appointment next week.
“We realize that a transplant is not a cure,” Jamie said, “but a treatment. That said, we still need to find a cure.”
As you might have guessed, nothing in this process is cheap, and the monetary needs will continue to grow as transplant day approaches.
This is where Dr. Stephanie Lillis of Advanced Chiropractic enters the picture.
She met Jamie Mauskemo a few years ago, knows all about Kiana’s struggle. and couldn’t sit on the sideline any longer.
“It’s such a great family and Kiana is a really sweet kid,” Lillis said. “Someday, hopefully, there will be a cure but in the meantime we have to do something to help.”
Lillis is a regular at Crossfit and the managers agreed to help with a Kiana fund.
The benefit will start Friday, and run for five weeks. Each week, athletes will be divided into teams, and they will perform various fitness routines. A portion of the entry fee for the athletes will be donated to Kiana. Music and food will be provided along with a raffle.
“I met Jamie about 10 years ago while shopping,” said Lillis. “Our daughters are about the same age and we hit it off right away.
“Around Thanksgiving time last year we talked, and I asked about Christmas plans but Jamie said those plans were uncertain because of Kiana’s condition. “That’s when I started thinking about what we could do to help.”
The family will need a donor when the time comes for a transplant because currently there is not a match. Unfortunately, Kiana’s mother and father do not match.
Once Kiana is placed on the registry, there will be a number to call and request to be tested. She is O-positive and will need a donor with the same blood type.
Jamie said her daughter has been nothing but positive throughout the whole ordeal.
“She always has a smile on her face,” she said, “and her smile is contagious.”
And through it all Kiana hangs onto her favorite Biblical message, that being, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle,” a pledge she practices every day.