MARQUETTE - As a local Gwinn family remains at their daughter's side after she suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, the community of Gwinn has rallied around the family in full support.
Makayla Mayo, 18, is a recent graduate of Gwinn High School. Described as fun, outgoing and energetic, this teenager is a much-loved member of her community. And it's this community that is now giving back to the Mayo family as Makayla heads toward recovery.
Makayla's health problems began on the night of June 15, according to a blog Mayo's mother, Tina Mayo, posted to keep family and friends informed. When Makayla Mayo came down with a severe and sudden headache, some confusion and slurred speech she was immediately taken to the emergency room where a CT scan of her head determined she had a large bleed, known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage, on the front part of her brain.
Makayla Mayo, 18, of Gwinn is recovering after suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm in June. (Mayo family photo)
Makayla, along with her mother, were airlifted to the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor, while Makayla's father, Tom Mayo, followed by car.
Physicians diagnosed Makayla with a grade-four brain aneurysm. A grade five is the highest on the scale.
After an initial surgery, Makayla seemed to be on the road to recovery. Doctors warned the family however, of a common delay effect called "cerebral vasospasm" that can sometimes happen within a few days of surgery. Soon after this warning, Makayla experienced the delay effect four times in one week and each time had to go back to the O.R. for a medical procedure to try and open the vessels that were clamped down. These vasospasms can cause a secondary stroke, which Makayla suffered. It affected her left side. On the night of June 22, the family was told that everything medically possible to try and stop the vasospasms had been done. Through the days however, the Mayo family, extended family, friends and the Gwinn community remained positive and prayed for Makayla.
"She is one strong girl," Tina Mayo said. "She's amazing ... her courage and perseverance. She won't give up."
Neither will the community support back home. Soon after the incident began, groups formed in support of the family, including a group called "Miles for Makayla" where individuals are asked to run or walk miles for the Gwinn teen, who is a passionate runner. During the mile, participants are asked to say a prayer for Makayla. More than 6,000 miles have been logged across the country so far.
"The support has been overwhelming and means so much to us. We're so thankful for all of the prayers," Tina Mayo said.
Several businesses and organizations collected money for the Mayo family during the Gwinn Fun Daze on Saturday. Additional fundraisers, including a spaghetti dinner benefit, are being planned for the near future.
For now, Tina Mayo said Makayla is continuing to recover as she re-learns how to do everyday tasks. She is currently focusing on how to walk again. The family is hoping to return home with Makayla in mid-August.
To learn more about Makayla Mayo's story or to log miles, visit the Facebook page "Miles for Makayla."
Donations can also be made to the SIR Federal Credit Union where an account has been established. Checks can be made payable to Tom and Tina Mayo. You can also donate to any of the local branches or mail it to 490 U.S. 41, Negaunee, MI 49866.
Abbey Hauswirth can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.