DC Student raises $2,700 for thyroid cancer

Every year the seniors at Drew Central High School spend the year working on a senior project. For Sarah Pennington, that project meant more than just a grade after she heard the story of MacKenzy McCarty and her fight against thyroid cancer. And that is when Pennington decided for her senior project she wanted to raise money for MacKenzy, her family and their fight toward remission. 

For MacKenzy and her family it all started in 2018 when MacKenzy was diagnosed with strep throat and put on antibiotics. She went back to the physician a week or two later because she wasn’t feeling any better. Her throat swabs came back showing she still had strep. She was given another antibiotic and followed up with the physician again at a later date with swollen lymph nodes in her neck. Strep was negative but Mac was still sick. The physician decided to send her to an ENT clinic in Pine Bluff. She went to him and he gave her some more medication and told her he was sending her to a specialist in Little Rock. It was now late November when she went to see the new physician. He did an ultrasound and a biopsy on 6 lymph nodes in her neck. Her appointment to find out the results was on December 6, 2018. 

She saw the oncologist and was diagnosed with Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma. She was scheduled for a scan on December 17th and was to see the surgeon that day as well. The surgeon stated that her neck was full of cancer, along with her lungs. Her surgery was December 28, 2018 at UAMS in Little Rock. 

Her surgery was very extensive and difficult. She sure was a trooper; smiling even through the pain and sickness. She went through radioactive iodine treatment, isolation, and dieting in February of 2019. After getting another scan, the scan showed that it had metastasized even more. She underwent radioactive iodine treatment again in late August of 2019. She went back in November of 2019, where the physician stated that she didn't respond to the treatments and at this time this is the only treatment option for her. Since she didn't respond to the 2 previous treatments, there was no need to repeat it at this time. 

MacKenzy went back to UAMS on  Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 for in depth scans to see if the cancer has spread more or if it is still the same. On Valentine's Day Mackenzie and her family got the results of her scan. The cancer has not spread, but it also hasn't gotten any better. She goes back in three months to have labs done.

"So thankful I was able to do a benefit pageant for MacKenzy as my senior project," said Pennington in a Feb. 9 Facebook post. "She is the sweetest girl and really an inspiration. She goes through more than anyone should have to but does it with a smile on her face. I truly couldn’t have picked a better person. On top of her being the sweetest girl she has the sweetest family. Thank you Ms. Crystal for allowing me to do this!" 

With the help of her family and friends and a lot of hard work on her part, Pennington was able to raise over $2,700 for the McCarty family to help continue the fight against this rare cancer.

"At the end of the pageant we were able to raise over $2,700. I’m so thankful I was able to meet MacKenzy and her sweet family," said Pennington 

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