On June 1, a dream-come-true took place as our family watched twin sisters Mackenzie and Madison Alber cross the graduation stage at Westfield High School. However, this day was out of the ordinary.
In 2000, meningitis and a stroke struck down Mackenzie at the young age of 18 months debilitating her for life. With thousands of hours of therapy, actions we take for granted such as swallowing, eating, talking and walking had to be relearned.
Devastating illnesses grab hold of a family’s heartstrings, but these young ladies who look so similar and have led such different physical lives have stayed emotionally connected in ways we could never imagine.
Madison graduated with honors in 2017. Mackenzie was delayed until this year in hopes of improvement with her academic and life skills. Sorrowfully, Madison spoke of a time when her crying mother noted that her twins would never walk across the stage together.
Jumping into action Madison was determined to make this day extraordinary for her loved ones. Working with the administration and staff her idea would be brought to fruition. She proudly escorted Mackenzie across the stage to receive her Certificate of Learning diploma. As teacher Erin Ondrusek read her name she also announced, “Let’s give it up for Mackenzie.” Applause, cheers and tears of joy rang out across the stadium.
As their grandmother observing this precious moment, I realized that both Madison and Mackenzie had given so much to so many on this special day.
Cindy Ely, Greenwood