Amena and Brandon Mebane welcomed their daughter Makenna to the world on November 12, 2018. Makenna was born at 35 weeks gestation with a genetic condition and heart defect. When Makenna was just eight days old, she developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a devastating intestinal disease. She underwent surgery, recovered well, and her family was hopeful that Makenna would overcome her battle with NEC. Tragically, the complications of NEC were too much for Makenna’s little body. Amena and Brandon lost their baby girl to NEC when she was just 7.5 weeks old. Makenna loved to cuddle with her mommy and have her feet tickled by her daddy. Makenna would grasp her big sister’s finger, and she loved to hear her toddler brother say “baby Makenna.”
In the days, weeks, and months after Makenna’s passing, the Mebane family held tight to each other and searched for ways to honor their precious daughter. Makenna has inspired the Mebane family to give back to babies and families just like theirs. They are committed to helping prevent other families from experiencing the overwhelming heartache caused by NEC. To honor Makenna and help other babies just like her, Amena donated Makenna’s breastmilk to the Mother’s Milk Bank in Colorado, a nonprofit milk bank dedicated to providing pasteurized donor milk to medically fragile babies in need. Mothers milk is one of the most effective ways to help prevent NEC. To further honor their daughter, the Mebane family made a generous donation to the NEC Society.
In the coming months, the NEC Society will begin designing a fall 2019 webinar series dedicated to Makenna Mebane that is focused on increasing our understanding of NEC, the empowerment of families in the NICU, and strategies for improving practice and driving research. Registration for the Makenna Mebane NEC Society webinar series will be announced after the NEC Symposium.
Jennifer Canvasser, founder and director of the NEC Society, shares “I am profoundly grateful and inspired by Amena and Brandon’s strength and generosity. By coming forward and sharing Makenna’s story, they are honoring their beautiful baby girl in such an impactful and meaningful way. Makenna and her family are helping us to build a world without necrotizing enterocolitis. I am confident that we will move the field of NEC forward because of sweet Makenna.”
The NEC Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving outcomes for medically fragile infants at risk of necrotizing enterocolitis. To learn more, please visit NECsociety.org