"Wind in my face. Thunder of hooves beneath me. Taking me to my happy place. Each and every day watch over your loved ones. Dream abundantly. Respect everyone. Inspire others."
- McKenna Johnson
McKenna was an extraordinary young lady born with primary lymphedema, but she never let it hold her back.
At six weeks old, she was diagnosed with the rare condition of intestinal lymphangiectasia, which affects the lymphatic system. McKenna and her family fought hard and made treatment compliance a priority because they understood how important it was in managing her condition. McKenna took her medications the same time each day, wrapped her legs every night and wore her compression garments daily.
McKenna led a very active lifestyle and never let her condition inhibit her. She achieved many of her goals and dreams, including becoming an accomplished equestrian, because of her consistency and commitment to treatment.
Sadly, McKenna passed away May 31, 2013, following complications of pneumonia. Though her life was far too short, she taught us all an important lesson to live life to the fullest. She also is a reminder to those with lymphedema that there is hope – compliance and diligent management of the disease can lead to a better quality of life.
In McKenna’s honor and a way to continue her legacy, Juzo set up a donation program to benefit lymphedema patients and encourage compliance with compression therapy. The McKenna Inspires fund provides assistance to those who are at a financial disadvantage and cannot afford compression garments. Over the last five years, the fund has helped people from all walks of life, from young children who are just starting the journey with lymphedema to retired teachers who can no longer afford their garments.
Juzo’s president, Annerose Zorn, had a special relationship with McKenna and her family.
“McKenna continues to be an inspiration to all of us to remember the importance of reaching for the stars — no matter what stands in our way,” Annerose said. “She never complained or let her Lymphedema dictate her life. We think of her often and the lessons she taught us…how to appreciate each moment of our lives.”