Ahna Powers-Brekke is an accomplished 9-year-old. She attends Highland Elementary School, plays guitar, performs in school musicals and recently earned her first-degree brown belt in taekwondo.
But it wasn’t so long ago that Ahna was unable to walk or run normally. That was due to a deformity that caused her right foot to curve inward, hindering her mobility.
Three years ago, Ahna received reconstructive surgery that drastically improved her ability to walk at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.
“Before I had the surgery, I really couldn’t play tag much,” said Ahna. “I felt like I didn’t really fit in.”
When Ahna was 16 months old, she developed a blood clot and damage to her sciatic nerve when her legs became caught in the spindles of her crib in the middle of the night. The blood clot eventually disappeared, but the nerve damage remained.
As she grew older, her muscles developed abnormally, causing a deformity. Over the years, Ahna underwent numerous non-invasive procedures. Prior to surgery, she wore an orthotic leg brace at all times.
“When she had the foot deformity, it really limited her ability to keep up with the other kids,” said Brian Powers-Brekke, Ahna’s father. “Her life is totally turned around.”
Ahna will always have a muscle and nerve disability. She is required to wear the orthotic brace at night and her right leg is only one third the size of her left. Nevertheless, in a recent fitness test at school, she placed in the middle of her class.
Ahna regularly sees professionals at Gillette to monitor her condition.
In 2010, Gillette admitted over 2,000 patients and received approximately 130,000 outpatient visits, according to the hospital’s annual report. Last year, Gillette received $6.5 million in donations, which are going toward the installation of new surgical facilities, patient rooms and a surgery simulation center.
For the Powers-Brekke family, the decision to participate in the KS95 for Kids Radiothon was an easy one. Ahna’s testimony will be played during the radiothon and the family will join KS95 at the Mall of America for the event.
“We just feel so fortunate to have such a great facility and an amazing place like Gillette in our backyard,” said Powers-Brekke. “This was a way for us to give back.”
The 13th annual KS95 for Kids Radiothon will take place on Dec. 9-10. For more information on how to donate to KS95 for Kids, go to the KS95 for Kids website.