A few weeks ago I called my young friend to interview her for this post. The last question I asked her was this: “When you hear the phrase ‘living well,’ what does that mean to you? What do you think it looks like to live well?” I wasn’t sure she would be able to quickly articulate an answer that question, but after a few seconds she responded:

To live in God’s image.

Wow. What 17-year-old gives an answer like that? MaKenna Maskey does, and her answer wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows her. She has no doubt that God created her just the way she is, and He wants her to live in a way that shows others who He is.

Nearly 18 years ago, MaKenna’s aunt Jenny called to tell me she had a new niece. The next day, the phone rang again. This time the news was grim. MaKenna had turned blue, so she was being airlifted from the small hospital in Mexico, Missouri, to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.

MaKenna’s diagnosis was Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). You can look it up here, but to put it simply, the left side of her heart was undeveloped. The right side had to do all the work, which it would only be able to do for a very limited amount of time without intervention.

This wasn’t a condition that would resolve itself on its own, so MaKenna’s parents were told they had two options. 1) Wait for a heart transplant. 2) Opt for a series of three surgeries that were still fairly new and experimental.

Continue reading “MaKenna Maskey: Living a Full Life with Half a Heart”