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Mackenzee Wittke is a “one-in-a-billion” little girl. “Kenzee,” as her family affectionately calls her, was born with a medical condition that has baffled experts from around the world. Her condition is so rare that the “Mackenzee Wittke Syndrome” was named after her. in August 2022, Kenzee celebrates her 13th birthday.

Kenzee’s story was featured in the July 17th, 2014 edition of Macleans Magazine.Kenzee


Matt and Kim Wittke live in the bedroom community of Sherwood Park, Alberta. They have two daughters, Emilee and Mackenzee. Mackenzee’s middle name is “Hope” and that’s what the Wittkes have been holding on to for the past thirteen years.

I’ve visited “little Mac” in their home and at their second home, the Stollery Children’s Hospital

Kim’s Story

Kim says, “Hope is a word and emotion that has been very prominent in my life. Mackenzee was born with many health complications: heart, lung, brain, eating, breathing…just to name a few.

Doctors told us that she wouldn’t live through the first week. Of course our first reaction was fear of losing our baby girl. But watching Mackenzee day after day fighting through many battles is where I found the true meaning of hope.

I kept repeating this to myself, “as long as she has breath there is hope.”

A Fighter

Doctors and specialists say that, physically and cognitively, she’s the age of a six-month-old baby. No medical expert has ever been able to explain Mackenzee’s condition; all genetic and chromosomal tests come back normal.

“I remember when she was nine months old sitting down with the Neurologist going over all the complications in her brain. He said to us that there is a very small percentage chance that Mackenzee will see her fifth birthday. Well my sweet girl you have proven time and time again that you are a fighter!

We are so blessed that God entrusted us with her life, and we pray that we have many more birthdays to celebrate!

4 Observations On Hope:

1. God has entrusted the Wittkes with Mackenzee. She is God’s girl. Mackenzee is a sacred trust. No matter what happens she is in God’s hands.

In 2021 Kenzee’s class got a new Teaching Assistant – Danielle Battiston. Danielle is the wife of Joe Battiston, the lead pastor at The Park Church. How thoughtful to have a Christian woman be a friendly, loving voice and face at school when she is away from Kim.

2. God gives the Wittkes the strength and wisdom to look after her.

God provided the most qualified professionals to care for Kenzee.

Kim says, “If you have heard me talk about Mackenzee then you have heard me talk about her amazing doctor and his staff. When Mackenzee was born we were thrown into a complex medical world. A world that no parent could begin to prepare for. We were scared, overwhelmed and heartbroken watching our tiny baby girl fight to stay with us.

Dr. Lyle McGonigle came into our lives shortly after Mackenzee was born. He helped us make the decisions we needed to make when it came to her care. Thirteen years later Dr. McGonigle and his staff are continuing to help us navigate her care. I honestly don’t know where we would be without them. He has celebrated the highs with us and stood beside us when it looked like Kenzee was slipping away. We are so grateful for this doctor.”

Dr. McGonigle was recipient of the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Medal of Service Award, presented by the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association.

3. Hope is contagious.

MacKenzee Wittke is a story that is far reaching. When others hear her story they are also filled with hope.

4. Hope makes the journey endurable. “There are many times where our journey is very rough. Watching your child time and time again struggle with so many complications can wear on the soul. Knowing that we don’t walk this alone, God is with us through it all, fills me with much hope. He loves Mackenzee so much and I know He will take care of her. Our Hope endures!”

You can connect with the Wittkes on their FB page. Please pray for Kenzee. Leave a birthday comment below for Kenzee and the Wittkes. Thank you.

Hope grows here.  We share stories that inspire people, build faith, and offer lasting purpose.

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  • Cynthia says:

    Thanks for sharing. Though the story brought tears to my eyes, your strength and “hope” made me say a quick prayer for wisdom to the medical team and world will really see our true”Hope” our lord almighty, Jesus Christ.

  • bob jones says:

    Thank you for praying for Kenzee, Cynthia.

  • Shirley Bidnick says:

    I read Kenzee’s story in MacLean’s while waiting in a doctors office. I am sorry to hear about this recent set back and I pray that God will show the doctors the way to do the surgery successfully. I also pray for Matt and Kim, and especially big sister Emilee, as they go through this surgery with Kenzee. It must be very difficult for them to watch her suffer. I pray that they will be strengthened by hope.

    I want to share some hope with them. Rochelle has a genetic disorder. For ten years her genetic tests came back negative. Then the tests improved and she was given a diagnosis the diagnosis (4P-) answered many unanswered questions! From the time she was born, she was given a short life span- first 1 year then 2 years, then no more than 6 years, then 10 years but ‘she’ll never survive into her teens’… now she is 35 years old. She has kidney failure, her life span is short. I don’t want her to suffer, but I will never be ready to let go, despite a lifetime of dire warnings. I understand, many can’t/won’t.

  • bob jones says:

    This is pure gold, Shirley. Rochelle is a gift from God and you are an inspiration of what a mother’s love can do. I understand. Thanks for sharing with the Wittkes.

  • Cynthia says:

    Wonderful to read this painful story. Your faith in the Lord will carry you a long way than what the medical team can. I am sorry the doctor called God’s unique and special creation “FLK”. God bless you Shirley

  • Gideon Martins says:

    I remember that the NP congregation prayed for her on several
    occasions some years ago, and for a while I didn’t her any news about her. Recently I asked someone about this little lovely girl….Nice to see her smiling…Prayer definitely works!

  • Julie MacKenzie says:

    Happy 13th Birthday Kenzee! Quite the journey this family has been through. We all know that there is always Hope. Hope has always carried me through hard times. Plus, I know that God will see me through the difficult times. So far, so good. Thank you for sharing this story with us Pastor Bob. Such an inspirational story. ❤️ I look forward to reading your blog every week.

  • Carla Friesen says:

    Happy Birthday MacKenzee!!

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