Kennedy Grace Goodwin

Kennedy Grace Goodwin, age 11, is one of the biggest Carolina Hurricanes’ fans you will ever meet. Her favorite colors are turquoise, red, and black (for the latter 2, see first sentence!). She loves to hang out with her friends, ride her bike, and play basketball and football. If she could, she would live under the water in her pool. Her favorite vacation spots are the beach, Disney World, and on a cruise ship. She is in sixth grade and likes middle school so far. She lives in Raleigh with her parents, her big sister (when she’s home from college), her mini-dachshund Chelsea, and her guinea pigs Skinner and Winston. And, she is a true inspiration to many.

Kennedy was born with Goldenhar Syndrome, a craniofacial syndrome. She has undergone 18 surgeries (several of these life-saving), has spent more days in a hospital than she cares to think about, and has visited more doctors than she cares to remember. Her parents once watched her die and thankfully, be brought back to life. Although Goldenhar causes many physical and health issues, her most notable physical characteristic is being born without a right ear. After much research, we landed at Duke Children’s Hospital in 2010, with the hopes that their top pediatric plastic surgeon could construct one for her!

Kennedy had her first ear reconstruction surgery in the fall of 2010, using rib cartilage to construct an ear. Within a couple of weeks, a fast-moving infection had set in and dissolved all rib cartilage. But…she did not give up! In the fall of 2011, we tried ear reconstruction, Take 2. This time, things looked promising. That is, till a dangerous MRSA infection landed her in the hospital. In the end, the ear could not be saved and back to surgery she went to remove the ear and the infection. But…she did not give up! Before leaving the hospital, Kennedy’s plastic surgeon sent an anaplastologist to visit us and discuss the prosthetic ear path. It took a year of healing physically and emotionally, but Kennedy finally decided to start the prosthetic journey. After a couple more surgeries and some more bumps in the road, Kennedy received her prosthetic ear in July 2013.

Although her journey for an ear hasn’t been easy, the support and care received at Duke has made all the difference in Kennedy’s journey.

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