Mackenzie Grubich brightened the lives of her family and friends with her constant, contagious, and incredible smile and big hugs. She had a way
of warming the hearts of all ages. She was a fun friend and yet a quiet companion who lived with enthusiasm. She loved life and made the most out of it. She was
most often found riding her Dora 4 Wheeler throughout the neighborhood waving and saying "Hi" to everyone.
Mackenzie was born in August of 2004 with both of her lungs partially collapsed. She landed in the PICU often, was on a restricted diet, and within the span of 4 years, visited 12
sepcialists searching for a diagnosis. Mackenzie endured blue episodes, had a high red cell blood count, and was in the lower 3rd of the charts. Throughout her countless doctor appointments,
blood draws, etc., Mackenzie's enthusiastic spirit did not falter. Finally, at the age of 4, Mackenzie was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension secondary to Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). PDA
is a condition in which the ductus arteriosus does not close. (The word "patent" means open.) The ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that allows blood to go around the baby's lungs before birth.
Soon after the infat is born and the lungs fill with air, the ductus arteriosus is no longer needed. However, Mackenzie’s hadn’t closed and with mistreatment for four years was too large to close
and causing high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension). Despite rapid progress in treatment for pulmonary hypertension, repeated misdiagnosis causes many patients to receive care only
at advanced stages of the illness. Mackenzie was placed on sildenafil (Revatio) better known as Viagra a vasodilator. There are currently 9 FDA approved therapies for Pulmonary Hypertension, however,
none of those therapies have been approved for pediatrics by the FDA. At the age of 5 Mackenzie developed pneumonia while vacationing in Florida. She was placed on a respirator and flown back to Michigan.
After a 6 week battle with chronic pulmonary hypertension and pneumonia, Mackenzie became one of God's angels.
Mackenzie is love, she is happiness, she is determination. She was little in size but most importantly big at heart. She drew us all in with her smile, her hugs and her waves and most importantly she taught
us to ignore limitations that life may have and instead approach each day with enthusiasm.
In 2009, through inspiration from my girlfriends and my daughter Mackenzie, I took up competing in triathlons. The following year, Co-Race Director, Steve Rummel energized me
to start running further and I completed 3 marathons. Racing has allowed me to meet other inspiring individuals as well as encourage others to get out and run, get fit and stay healthy. During Mackenzie’s battle
at the University of Michigan Hospital, the DeWitt Community was extremely supportive and bringing this event to DeWitt is one way to give back to such an awesome community. - Melinda Grubich, Co-Race Director