- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - Nine-year-old Allyson Kimani on Wednesday stood before her classmates at Franke Park Elementary, a feat she couldn’t accomplish without the help of crutches just a few months ago.

The fourth-grader’s right leg, up to above the knee, was amputated last March due to complications from influenza. She has been using a prosthesis since July and continues regular therapy to improve her walking skills. She brought crutches to school until late November, said her mother, Amanda Kimani.

Allyson, who received treatment from Riley Hospital for Children, has been named a Riley Champion - an honor the school celebrated Wednesday.

Fort Wayne Community Schools also kicked off its 10th annual fundraiser for the Kids Caring & Sharing program, which supports the Riley Children’s Foundation. Schools raise money through various methods, such as penny wars and special dress days.

Because the district last year raised $1 for every student - $42,025.36 - it is considered a Riley Corporation. FWCS will work this year to become a Miracle Corporation, which means raising $1 for every student with participation from every school.

Harris Elementary Principal Jana Ankenbruck, who leads the district’s Kids Caring & Sharing campaign, told Franke Park students that Allyson likely contributed to the fundraiser well before she knew an illness would take her to the hospital.

“We help make miracles happen at Riley,” Ankenbruck said.

Allyson suffered from the flu with pneumonia and a type of strep, her mother said, adding the girl’s vital organs began shutting down before she was flown to Riley on March 8.

Her leg was amputated 10 days later, Kimani said.

She said her daughter’s hospitalization included four weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit.

Allyson has redefined what is possible,” said Susan Miles, a Kids Caring & Sharing representative. “Allyson embraces her challenges with smiles and courage and has proudly mastered the use of her new Hello Kitty prosthetic leg.”

Franke Park Principal Brian Howard said the PTA has supported Allyson by holding fundraisers to help cover her medical bills.

It’s great to now see her thrive, he said.

“We’re so proud of you,” Howard told Allyson during the celebration.

Allyson encourages everyone to get a flu shot. She got hers as soon as possible this season.

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Source: The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette, https://bit.ly/2k5Oq4O

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Information from: The Journal Gazette, https://www.journalgazette.net

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