Remembering Mackenzie Rose: 7-year-old Delaware County girl gives gift of life after suffering devastating brain bleed

WALLINGFORD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — The loss of a Wallingford, Pennsylvania family came to life thanks to some miraculous odds.

Elizabeth Raiburn says anyone who knew her 7-year-old daughter Mackenzie Rose would tell you she was something else.

“She was spirited and she was cheeky. She definitely gave people competition,” Raiburn said.

A few months ago, Mackenzie Rose was diagnosed with a very serious blood condition called aplastic anemia. Her treatment included chemotherapy.

But the unthinkable happened last Friday when Mackenzie Rose underwent similar treatment.

“When she received her bone marrow transplant on Friday, she suffered a devastating cerebral hemorrhage that ultimately resulted in brain death,” Raiburn said.

Among the people Raiburn wanted to notify was Martino Cartier, the founder of the Wigs & Wishes organization to say “thank you”.

wigs & Wishes made a wig for Mackenzie Rose in anticipation of chemo-related hair loss.

But Raiburn also made a request.

She and her husband Michael Barbagallo wanted their daughter to live on by donating her kidneys to someone in need of a transplant.

By coincidence, Cartier’s friend Anthony Soriano was on the donor list and was scheduled to start dialysis.

Still, the chances that Soriano and Mackenzie Rose were compatible were slim.

“The transplant team said you had a better chance of winning the billion-dollar Mega Millions jackpot than this work. Well, guess what, at 5:42 a.m. when they went off support… I got a call — just the perfect match,” Cartier recalled.

Soriano underwent quick surgery this weekend and received Mackenzie’s gift of life.

After waking up, Soriano recorded a message for Mackenzie Rose’s family, saying, “I am so filled with love and gratitude that words cannot even express.”

And Mackenzie Rose will live on during the annual Wig Night & Wishes Gala, where a champion of the cause will receive the McKenzie Gift of Life Award this year and from now on.

This year’s gala is scheduled for November in Philadelphia.

“She should be here. But since we can’t have her here, I’m just grateful that she was able to save other lives, and I just want her to live in people’s hearts and memories forever,” Raiburn said.

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