K is for Kennedy

Posted: September 15, 2015 - 8:46am

There has been a lot of purple at Y-12 recently in support of a very special member of the Y-12 family, Kennedy Ladd.

Kennedy is the daughter of Y-12 firefighter, Ryan Ladd. Her “Gami,” Tami Ladd, works in industrial hygiene. To show their support for Kennedy, who is undergoing treatment in Cincinnati for Hurler Syndrome (MPS 1), many employees showed up for a special photo to be shared with the Ladd family.

Ryan Ladd said of the support from his fellow Y-12ers, “We can’t put into words how grateful we are.” Gami Ladd agreed, “The Y-12 family really comes together to support one another in times like this. I get calls asking about Kennedy every day.”

The Ladd family had never even heard of Hurler Syndrome until Kennedy’s diagnosis.

Hurler Syndrome is when the body has a defective gene and cannot make an important enzyme. Patients with Hurler syndrome cannot break down large molecules. As a result, the molecules build up and damage organs and tissues. Hurler Syndrome occurs on average in about 1 out of every 100,000 babies born, although it is more common in some parts of the world than in others. Children with Hurler Syndrome have many physical and mental problems. If the damage is not stopped, children born with Hurler Syndrome usually die by 5 to 10 years of age. Currently, there is no cure. The best possible treatment option available for Hurler’s patients is bone marrow transplant. Kennedy’s first transplant attempt was unsuccessful; she had a second transplant June 30.

“We were scared, devastated and heartbroken when we learned what Kennedy would be going through. Faith and prayers are keeping Ryan, Allie (Kennedy’s mom) and Kennedy going right now. Pray that her body accepts the second transplant and that the donor cells grow like wildfire!”

Supporter Lisa England said she didn’t really know Ryan, but had seen him around the plant. When she received something about a Chik-fil-A fundraiser, she thought it was a good idea to spread the word. She said “I like the idea that we (as employees) are taking care of our own. It could be any of us at any given time. I know that these parents love their child and would give their lives for her.”

To follow Kennedy’s treatment, look for Kennedy Ladd’s Prayer Group on Facebook.