Most Precious Gift

Mindy Kennedy is the daughter of Rhonda King, an associate in the Green Meadow Oklahoma, market center. She and her husband Jon have three children.

Their middle child, Graceyn (age 9), was born with significant hearing loss and hemiplegic cerebral palsy and lissencephaly due to cytomegalovirus. Early in life, she began physical, occupational and speech therapies to give her every chance to overcome the odds that she might never walk or talk. She took her first steps at 2 and started talking at a normal age, full of laughter and loving to tell stories. Until age 5, Graceyn had remained seizure-free; however, her first episode was a terrifying grand mal seizure. Graceyn suffered many seizures and was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. Numerous doctor appointments, hospital stays and surgeries performed in multiple states were necessary to address her medical conditions.

Throughout many sleepless nights, the Kennedys responded to each noise Graceyn made, remaining awake to watch for seizure activity. How could they break this cycle? They learned that service dogs could be trained to alert for seizures, offer hearing assistance, provide brace and balance support, as well as other assistance with Graceyn’s daily routine. A very special poodle named Flynn was matched with Graceyn’s profile and personality. When his training was complete, the entire family underwent training with Flynn for dealing with various environments – classrooms, airplanes, parks, restaurants, etc. Highly trained dogs are invaluable but very expensive. The financial strain brought about by Graceyn’s conditions tested the Kennedy family greatly. They needed and very much appreciated the help that was joyfully provided by Rhonda’s market center and KW Cares. Today, Graceyn is succeeding in school and in life thanks to an extraordinary partnership that provides companionship, love, and loyalty, but most of all, essential support from Flynn each and every day.

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