Mackenzie was diagnosed with a tumor on her pituitary gland at the age of 5. 3 months later, she was diagnosed with an optical pathway glioma.   The underlying cause was neurofibromatosis, or NF for short.




What is NF? The National Institute of Neurological Disorders defines it as, ” a group distinct disorders that cause tumors to grow in the nervous system.  Tumors begin in the supporting cells that make up the nerve and the myelin sheath (the thin membrane that envelops and protects the nerves), rather than the cells that actually transmit information.  The type of tumor that develops depends on the type of supporting cells involved.”


Mackenzie struggles with learning disabilities and physical activity, but she makes up for it with her creative nature.  Now 10 years old, she cuts up old shirts to make clothes for her dolls.  She takes random objects and creates robots from them.



Bennie's Barn

Mackenzie at Bennie’s Barn

NF requires monitoring of any tumors.  There is no general agreement amongst doctors about when it is appropriate to intervene surgically or often what surgical option is best.  Treatment is on a case by case basis.

Loving horses, the family is grateful to Bennies Barn for helping her learn about more about horses and riding. Mackenzie has increased confidence in herself and is gaining strength through the equine therapy.when she is there. There is a determination not to let her Nf define her. She now has a goal to barrel race in the Special Olympics.


To learn more about neurofibromatosis go to

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