8-year-old with rare disease gives back to other patients

8-year-old with rare disease gives back to other patients

"Well, KK is a very special doll to me," said 8-year-old Brynne Bigham of Post. She sticks close to her side-kick. 

"Sometimes I play babies with her at home," said Brynne. The two are nearly inseparable. 
     
"She has the same disease as me. She has the same things as me, like a port and a G button," Brynne said. KK helps Brynne cope with her rare, genetic disease that she's had since birth. 

"It's called trichohepatoenteric syndrome and she is one of 22 in the world," said Maggie Guthrie, Brynne's mom. Maggie said her daughter gets no nutritional benefit from food. 

"She can break down food, but she can't absorb it. So, it's kind of like her body just flushes it out," Maggie said. Brynne is fed through a tube with a special solution. 

"It's got all the fats, lipids, proteins, sugars and everything that she needs," Maggie said. Brynne's disease doesn't only affect her eating. 

"It affects her heart, her, liver, her gut, and her hair," Maggie said. It also impacts Brynne's immune system.

"We get a treatment every week that gives her an immune system for seven days and then we keep going," Maggie said. Sometimes, it's a painful process. 

"When we do my needle I just put my shirt over my eyes and then it kind of helps," Brynne said.  Brynne's doll isn't her only source of support. 

"I have a lot of friends," Brynne said. She's quite popular at Covenant Children's hospital. She sells cookies to doctors and nurses. Brynne uses her profits to buy more cookies, so she can give free boxes to other patients. 

"When they buy cookies they say 'thank you' and it makes them really happy, a lot," Brynne said. Brynne's heart for giving makes Maggie one proud mom. 

"Anytime she's here she just wants to share with others and just make them happy," Maggie said. "God has blessed her with an amazing personality to just smile through everything."

Despite her own struggles, Brynne shares those smiles at no extra charge. 

"Sharing is the most important thing," Brynne said. Because of the overwhelming support Brynne has received, her mom created the non-profit "Brynne's Smiles" designed to support other families and individuals in need. Click here for more information.

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