Utah family turns tragedy into triumph with giving hearts

Published 12/13 2013 05:38PM

Updated 12/13 2013 08:27PM

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - A Utah native commemorated the loss of her daughter today by donating her time, talents, and leggings to hundreds of Utah families.

Two months after Makenzie Webster came into the world a sudden sickness struck.

"She started having trouble breathing," her mom Kendra said.  "She kinda would make a funny noise and so that was kinda our red flag."

Doctors diagnosed Makenzie with an extremely rare condition called spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress, otherwise known as SMARD.  Her prognosis was grim.

"She would have to be on a ventilator for the rest of her life.  She would eventually lose, the rest of her nervous system would shut down," Kendra said.

The entire family was devastated.

"To not know what your life would be and how long you could have her was just terrifying," Kendra said.

After doctors gave the Websters a series of disappointing options the family made a difficult choice.

"We made the decision that we were going to take her off life support and let her go," Kendra said.

Four years ago today, Doctors announced the time had come.

"They just looked at me and said her tube is already out.  Are you ready?" Kendra recalled.  Through tears she struggled to speak.  "In your mind, your instinct is to say no, but I said yeah."

The painful loss prompted the Websters to make memories on Makenzie's behalf.  Kendra started a blog and founded The Leggings Project.  The project collects hundreds of leggings each year and donates them to babies at Primary Children's Medical Center to keep their arms and legs warm while in intensive care.  It's a four-year-old tradition for the Webster family that is helping them grieve while giving hope to countless Utah families.

"It makes it so much better knowing that we're making a positive difference in her name," Kendra said.

At least 4 thousand pairs of leggings have been donated to the hospital to date. To learn more about The Leggings Project visit the Webster family blog.  You can find more information on how to lend a helping hand here.

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