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Kelly's choice cares

The Kelly Smith Story -
A Journey of Resilience

Once upon a time, in the chilly winter month of December, the 15th day to be exact, in the year 1985, a baby girl named Kelly Renee Smith was born. But her story had started just a day before, under circumstances that were anything but ordinary.

Kelly's mother, Edwina Smith, was a sturdy woman, pregnant and anxious, her belly heavy with the weight of her unborn child. She knew in her heart that her baby was ready to make her entrance into the world. However, the doctors at the hospital were dismissive, ignoring her pleas, and thrice sent her away. The delay caused a dry birth, leaving little Kelly without oxygen at the most crucial moment of her life. Blue as a smurf and lifeless, the tiny newborn was whisked away to a world of medical emergencies.

During the chaotic time when Edwina was being shunted from one hospital to another, her husband and she found temporary respite at his sister Pat's home. Despite the excruciating pain that had her in tears, Edwina was urged by her staunchly supportive sister-in-law to switch hospitals. Heeding her advice, they rushed to another medical facility where Edwina's condition was promptly identified and validated. She was, indeed, ready for labor.

However, due to the constraints of military insurance, they had to return to the original hospital. Yet again, they tried to turn Edwina away, but a quick-thinking doctor intervened, speeding her through the sterile double doors into a delivery room. That was where Kelly was born, amidst a whirlwind of fear and relief.

Kelly's birth was far from straightforward. Despite being born full term, she weighed only 4lbs 5oz. There were health complications that puzzled the doctors - a seizure at birth, a missing soft spot on her head essential for brain growth, amblyopia in her left eye, and a stroke on her right side. Edwina was told that these conditions could lead to brain damage and disability in her baby girl. And sure enough, little Kelly was diagnosed with cerebral palsy a short time later. The prognosis was grim - she might never walk, talk, or even sit up. Her eyes needed training, for which she had to wear a patch on the stronger eye.

Yet, Kelly defied the odds. Supported by her family's unwavering faith and love, at the age of 2, she started sitting up with the help of her eldest sister. Soon, she was enrolled in an early childhood program, and she even received home services. Her diagnosis, however, became increasingly complex, but the family never gave up hope.

Fast forward to Kelly's school years, where she was fitted with a special chair to aid mobility. She was a bright beacon of hope and happiness in their lives. Through the years, she went through numerous therapies and treatments, each making a small but significant difference. However, she also faced seizures that were initially barely noticeable but eventually developed into terrifying grand mal seizures.

In 2020, a new diagnosis was added to Kelly's list: keratoconus, a rare and progressive eye condition causing vision loss. This affected her movement, and often, her wheelchair would veer off course. A specialist was sought who prescribed special glass contacts, but unfortunately, Kelly did not take to them well. This was yet another bump on the road, but one they learned to navigate carefully.

Now, Kelly requires 24-hour care. She is unable to perform simple tasks like dressing or bathing herself. But she lives a life full of love, surrounded by her family - a mother and a father who doesn't believe in the word 'step', an older sister, a younger sister and brother, six nieces, and a nephew. Her father has been a part of her life since she was 11 and loves her unconditionally.

Kelly is a wonderful woman, living a life filled with love, joy, and challenges. Her mother, her fierce protector, understands the need for constant vigilance due to Kelly's intellectual challenges. But to those who know her, Kelly's jumbled words and radiant smile bring pure joy. Despite all the hurdles and setbacks, she remains an embodiment of perseverance and bravery. Thus unfolds the story of Kelly Renee Smith, a story of love, resilience, and the human spirit.

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