By JoEllen Black/Richmond News
Emilee Hendricks’ life appeared dire only a few years ago. A young girl stricken with the rare life-threatening disorder, Protein Surfactant C Deficiency, hardened her lungs and made breathing difficult. She needed an oxygen tank to breathe, lost weight and didn’t have the stamina to attend school.
But in the summer of 2010, a double lung transplant at St. Louis Children’s Hospital gave her and her family the hope of a new lease on her young life. Fingers are crossed, and it appears things are so far, so good.
“She doing absolutely amazing,” said her mother, Andrea Pearon. “Being hooked to oxygen for 10 years of your life and now she has this freedom. I’m not the type of parent to shelter – well, of course I do – but I want her to enjoy things other kids her age do. She plays outside, and got a skateboard she asked for at Christmas. I’m letting her enjoy as much as she possibly can. I want her to have childhood experiences, like sleepovers and church camp for a week. She enjoyed it and had fun. That’s all that matters.”
Living with the constrictions of oxygen tanks and food tubes has made Emilee appreciate the typical aspects of childhood, like school – which she loves, her mom says – and playing with other kids.
“From then to now, she’s growing into a young lady. Everybody falls in love with her. She’s charismatic and sweet and so very excited. It’s her first year to play basketball,” Pearon said.
To donate to Emilee’s fund, contact COTA as 800-366-2682 or www.COTA.org. Donations should be made to the Emilee Hendricks fund.