Saturday, May 08, 2021

Columbia Falls girl is an inspiration to all

| November 12, 2020 12:00 AM

If you’re in need of some inspiration today, the uplifting story of how 10-year-old Kymber Johnson of Columbia Falls battled a rare cancer and beat it is a marvelous example of sheer tenacity and determination.

About a year ago she was diagnosed with an aggressive type of bone cancer that required amputating part of her right leg. Kymber went through extensive treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital, at times so sick from the anti-cancer drugs she had to be admitted to the ER.

After all that she underwent a 12-hour rotationplasty surgery, an extraordinary procedure that cut away the knee joint without severing the major nerve, artery and blood vessel to the foot. Doctors then rotated the lower portion of her leg, so that the ankle joint now functions as the knee, and the foot, inserted into a prosthetic, becomes the leg’s new calf muscle.

Now Kymber is cancer-free and back at home, and once she’s fitted with a special prosthetic, the ultimate goal is to one day walk again. Her father said Kymber “was stronger than you could ever imagine.”

We wish Kymber and her family all the best as she continues to progress toward walking again. Once again, a child has shown us all the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity.

Another bright moment in the community came to light last week when it was announced that a long-running fundraiser to benefit a Whitefish teen with spina bifida had reached its goal.

After almost two years of community effort, Josh Burt is now driving a specially equipped 2019 Chevy Traverse. Friends began the fundraising campaign in 2018 to purchase the vehicle so Burt could live more independently and not rely on friends and family for rides.

The dedication to push this fundraising effort across the finish line is a testament to the caring nature of our community.

Enjoy your new set of wheels, Josh. And kudos to the friends who dreamed up this effort and made it a reality.