LJ Girl of the Year Kelsey Salvati and Troy location manager Allie Wood met three-year-old Brooklyn MacGiver and her family – parents Ken and Michelle, and siblings Kolin, 13, and Kaylyn, 10 – Sunday, August 30, for a day of fun at the Detroit Zoo.
Brooklyn, a ball of energy and a true fighter, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Neuroblastoma as well as Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome (OMS), a rare neurological disorder affecting as few as 1 in 10,000,000 people annually, at just 17 months of age.
It was a tough blow for the MacGivers, who had been searching for a reason their child had suddenly started seizure-like behavior that included eye-twitching, involuntary shaking, vomiting, and breathing trouble.
“Hearing the stories Ken and Michelle told us was heartbreaking,” said Kelsey. “No one should have to experience something like that with their child.”
Brooklyn underwent a total of eight rounds of chemotherapy and, at the end of January 2014, was officially in remission. Today, Brooklyn continues her battle with OMS and is on several medications to live a somewhat normal life.
“Seeing how well Brooklyn is doing now is a huge inspiration,” said Kelsey. “She is a sweet and sassy girl and the entire family was a blast to hang out with!”
Brooklyn’s day was centered around her favorite animal: giraffes. She received a Detroit Zoo tote bag filled with goodies including two books, a t-shirt, and two stuffed giraffes she carried with her throughout the day. Then after seeing the penguins, monkeys, zebras, dinosaur exhibit and having lunch at the Arctic Café, Brooklyn was able to feed one of the giraffes herself through the zoo’s Giraffe Encounter.
Following some more animal exhibits, the group was ready to go, but not before one final surprise for the family. On the way out of the park, Kelsey and Allie presented Kolin and Kaylyn with backpacks filled with school supplies for the year, a gift Lady Jane’s Haircuts for Men CEO Chad Johnson loves to give.
“Kolin and Kaylyn loved the backpacks, which was awesome to see,” said Allie, “and we’ve already arranged for the family to visit us in Troy to get their back to school haircuts!
“We can’t wait to see them again.”