Neighbors rally behind paralyzed teen in Apopka

Garage sale held for teen with rare disorder


APOPKA, Fla. – If you made it past the coats, clubs and toys at an Apopka garage sale Saturday, you would have found 13-year-old McKennzie Tucker proudly showcasing the hair bows she made.

"It means a lot that people come out and donate, all this stuff, just to help me," she said.

Three months ago McKennzie was cheering with her MGA Storm girls, but now she is in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down.

"One night she was practicing and the next morning, unfortunately, she woke up and had some chest pains, and then a headache and within 20 minutes was paralyzed," said her father, Brian Tucker.

McKennzie has a rare condition called transverse myelitis, which destroys the connection between her brain and lower body.

What makes matters worse is McKennzie's mother was recently diagnosed with cancer and the family was dropped from their insurance policy.

Neighbors, friends and strangers are rallying behind the seventh-grader, raising money to help pay for McKennzie's intensive physical therapy.

"Prior to this incident, we knew people were great and we knew there was a lot of kindness in the world, but we never experienced anywhere near this level," said Brian Tucker.

It's going to be a long battle for McKennzie and her family, but she's reminding everyone to stay positive.

"Just keep your head high, because you're going to get through it," she said.

McKennzie will be holding a "walk-a-thon" fundraiser April 18.

She is also raising money through her website here.