McKenzie Lowe Fundraiser Brings Swell of Community SupportersJuly 18, 2014
by AJ Dickinson
After first being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in December of 2012, 12-year-old McKenzie Lowe has since been in the fight of her life.
The now seventh grader at Hudson Memorial School has seen firsthand how quickly a small community can rally together to help a child in need. Because conventional methods of treatment, such as radiation and chemotherapy trial drugs were considered ineffective, doctors were forced to seek out other somewhat controversial treatments. Since McKenzie’s health insurance company will only cover the traditional treatments, the family is now forced to pay for the newer and extremely expensive approach. This drug McKenzie is currently taking has just recently been approved by the Food and Drug administration for a select few patients. Although it is still in the experimental phases, the treatment is said to give the patient a 30 percent chance of overcoming the tumor.
Frank LaFountain, McKenzie’s grandfather, expressed his frustrations with the insurance company by saying, “Nobody likes insurance because they won’t pay for the big things that need to be done to save a child’s life.” This month the Lowe family has to pay $30,000 out of pocket which just covers administrative and medical supply costs alone. The new drug that is being administered is infused into the young girl’s blood 20 hours a day; by wearing a small pack on her side she receives the treatment continuously. This month’s supply was generously donated by her doctor. But with next month’s fees reaching the $15,000 mark, family and friends are doing everything they can do to raise the money.
On Saturday, July 12, a fundraiser was held at the Hudson Fish and Game Club from 2 to 10 p.m. People from all over southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts could be seen donating both their time as well as assisting the fundraiser through generously donating money for the young girl’s medical fees. “It works out when we all come together,” said Frank, referring to the wide range of communities that came together to show their support, “from Nashua to Derry, Tyngsboro to Dracut, oh … and Hudson, of course.”
The event couldn’t have landed on a more beautiful day with the sun shining and the breeze blowing. Hundreds could be seen enjoying the food which was generously donated by over seven different local businesses along with the rest of the excitement. With so many activities such as face painting, hair dying, live music and even a bounce house there seemed to be a little something for everybody to enjoy as folks generously donated to this great cause. While youngsters could be seen partaking in horse and pony rides provided by Whispering Brook Farm in Hudson, adults were found trying their luck at the bountiful raffle held inside. Of the many Items up for raffle some of the big ticket items like the patio set donated by Lowes combined with the autographed merchandise sent by such major sports organizations as the Red Sox, Celtics, and Patriots, the raffle was hard to resist. Ayotte’s State Line store even donated a NASCAR hood signed by Kevin Harvick and the top prize was a Tom Brady signed football.
McKenzie, now in her third week of treatment, is one third of the way to her full dosage. In these upcoming weeks she will reach her full dosage of the medication. “Then it could really start doing some work,” said her grandfather, who, along with her family, friends, and the rest of the community, remains very hopeful.