Hudson Community Continues to Support One of Its Own

January 10, 2014

by Laurie Jasper

As reported in the Hudson~Litchfield News, 12-year-old McKenzie Lowe was diagnosed just over one year ago with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).  Family and friends of McKenzie continue to work to obtain 100,000 signatures on a petition to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the White House to grant McKenzie a compassionate exemption to begin treatment with Antineoplastons (ANP) drug, which is not FDA approved.  According to the petition, which may be found at www.Change.org, The FDA has made 471 exemptions for this treatment to date.  An amazing 61,200 signatures have already been obtained in just a few short months, but over 38,000 are still needed.  Senator Kelly Ayotte wrote an impassioned letter in December to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg on McKenzie’s behalf and continues to assist the family.

Despite starting the New Year in the hospital with a stomach bug and bad sinus infection unrelated to the tumor, McKenzie has recovered from her illness and is back at Hudson Memorial School with her classmates.  The family is hopeful that permission will be granted for ANP, but time is of the essence.  Because the drug is not FDA approved, health insurance will not cover the high cost of the treatment.  The Hudson community is rallying once again with several fundraisers to assist McKenzie and her family.

For the month of January, Sweet Kiwi Frozen Yogurt Shops, with locations in Hudson and Londonderry, will donate their Change for a Cure proceeds to McKenzie’s fund.  Sweet Kiwi owner Laura Calamari explained: “Since we are a self-serve shop, there is no need to have a tip jar, but people still want a place to throw their change.  So, instead of a tip jar we have a “Change for a Cure” jar.  Each month we choose a new charity.  Since we opened (last March in Hudson, last June in Londonderry) we’ve donated to breast cancer, Alzheimer and diabetes research, for example.”  Laura explained that they usually select a cause.  “Typically, we do not donate to a specific person, but considering McKenzie has become an icon in Hudson, and is one of our customers, this is how we are starting our year,” said Laura.

Another fundraiser to offset McKenzie’s medical bills will be held Thursday, January 16 at Uno Chicago Grill, 593 Amherst Street, Nashua.

Sean Lavery, Managing Partner at Uno and a Hudson resident, is organizing the event.  “Uno is open 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and 20 percent of the proceeds that day from anyone that orders lunch, dinner or takeout will go toward McKenzie’s fund.  We have coupons distributed, but as long as you mention that you are ordering for the fundraiser, 20 percent will go toward the foundation,” said Sean.  “Uno also offers delivery to Hudson, so any schools or businesses that want to order lunch that day, we’ll get it there,” added Sean.  In addition to the 20 percent donation, the restaurant will also be hosting a silent auction, along with entertainment in the evening.  “We will have a silent auction, and some of the items include four ski passes to Sugarbush, $200 gift card to Uno, expensive bottles of wine and a signed shirt from Boston Bruin Shawn Thornton,” said Sean.  In addition, the Granite Statesmen will be performing from 5-9 p.m. at the restaurant.

To sign the petition, visit http://www.change.org/petitions/fda-save-12-year-old-mckenzie-lowe-grant-her-compassionate-use-of-antineoplastons.

Sweet Kiwi Frozen Yogurt is located in Nottingham Plaza on Lowell Road in Hudson and in Orchard View Plaza in Londonderry.  Uno Chicago Grill is located at 593 Amherst Street, Nashua, and their telephone number is 886-4132.