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Ennis Daily News

Readers console paralyzed Ennis girl

IHOP launches
fundraiser to aid McKiernan family
Rachelle McKiernan, an Ennis High graduate and servicewoman diagnosed with a rare neurological syndrome, has received overwhelming support from family, friends and neighbors – and now her former employers are lending a financial hand.
Rachelle, 19, a resident of Ennis since she was in elementary school, is paralyzed from the shoulders down with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. A week ago she was only able to move her shoulders and head and had lost the ability to speak. Rachelle, daughter of Lee and Vecenta McKiernan of Ennis, was until recently on a respirator at Banner Estrella Medical Center in Glendale, Ariz., near the military base where she had been serving. She has now been to an out-patient care facility.
The condition has caused Rachelle’s immune system to attack her peripheral nervous system, which began as a tingling sensation in her legs and worked its way up to her arms and upper body. She was first hospitalized following injections she received as part of her training for the military, following which she was to be shipped overseas.
There has been some improvement in Rachelle’s condition, her stepmother Vecenta told the Ennis Daily News.
"Rachelle can twist her hand back and forth and she is learning to breathe on her own," she said, adding that Rachelle has a message she wants to relate to her friends in Ennis.
"I still have a lot of obstacles ahead to still overcome but I am strong and can’t wait to come home," she said.
The International House of Pancakes (IHOP), Rachelle’s former employers, has launched a campaign to raise funds for the young Ennis woman and her family as they face the expense of her recovery. IHOP Area Director Mike Escobedo said donations for the McKiernan family are being accepted at the Ennis, Terrell, Lancaster and Cedar Hill IHOP restaurants.
“Our guests can purchase fundraiser tickets for $5 each,” Escobedo said. “These tickets can be redeemed for a free shortstack of pancakes or $5 in food at IHOP until the end of the year. Guests can make donations to the family at our restaurant or they may donate money directly into an account at Guaranty Bank in Ennis in Rachelle’s name.”
Escobedo added that participating restaurants are holding a Rachelle McKiernan Day on July 8. All guests that dine in on that day will receive a free shortstack of pancakes. No purchase is necessary but donations are encouraged and will be accepted all day.
Since featuring the original story about Rachelle’s condition on Father’s Day, the Ennis Daily News has received numerous phone calls and emails from readers interested in helping the McKiernan family.
Some readers who have survived Guillain-Barre Syndrome have wanted to give hope to the family by letting them know that treatments do work.
Blear Williams called to say after she was diagnosed with the syndrome she was paralyzed from the waist down, but has recovered with just a slight numbness lingering in her legs.
Another concerned reader said he recovered fully and the family should know that his prayers are with them.
Besides financial assistance, friends said the McKiernan family needs the community’s emotional support. The McKiernans said they appreciate the help they have received and wish to extend their gratitude to friends and supporters in Ennis for their thoughts and prayers.
For more information on aiding Rachelle McKiernan and her family contact Estella Gallegos, general manager of the Ennis IHOP, at 972-878-0692. The restaurant is located at 111 S. I-45.

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Posted by on Jun 25 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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