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Vibrant 14-Year-Old with Muscular Dystrophy Inspires Her Community

Emily Progin, PR and Communications Coordinator / 800.642.8399

Release: Immediate


Avondale’s Mackenzie Hurt is Fundraising to Stay Independent

AVONDALE, Ariz.—At 14, Mackenzie Hurt is vibrant, sassy, and active. She is a health advocate, peer tutor, after-school volunteer, and Junior Honor Society student. She is also living with muscular dystrophy, which prevents her from being able to use her legs. This exceptional 14-year-old has been inspiring and giving back to the Avondale community for years—now it’s her turn to ask for support as she strives to build a bright, independent future.

Mackenzie is in 8th grade at Legacy Traditional School. Born in Las Vegas, she has spent most of her life in Avondale. “Mackenzie has always taken every challenge life has thrown her way, and made the best of every situation,” says Malia Bruhn, Mackenzie’s mom. “Even though physical activity is draining for her because of her diagnosis, she performs exercises every single day to maintain her health.” Keeping up her body’s defenses is exceptionally important right now because Mackenzie’s muscular dystrophy compromises her immune system, which could make her uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19.

“Mackenzie is very independent,” Bruhn explains, “but for her whole life, I’ve been able to just pick her up and put her in the car. Now that Mackenzie weighs 150 pounds, she is harder to lift, and she doesn’t necessarily want her mom picking her up to put her in the car in front of everyone.” A motorized transfer seat will give Mackenzie the added independence she’s craving—but there’s a catch: insurance refuses to pay for the vehicle modifications. That leaves Mackenzie and her family on the hook for $10,000 out-of-pocket to get the modification.

Mackenzie is fundraising with a national nonprofit, Help Hope Live, to raise the $10,000 at

“The great thing is that when she is old enough to drive, the seat can also be placed in front of her so that she can transfer in and out of the driver’s seat!” says Bruhn. “Her dream is to attend NAU to become an interior designer.”

To support Mackenzie’s “drive” for independence, make a donation in honor of Mackenzie Hurt at Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, and all funds raised will be managed by the nonprofit to cover verified medical and related expenses only. Help Hope Live verifies medical and financial need for every patient. eCheck instructions are also available on Mackenzie’s fundraising page (no mailed checks due to COVID-19 concerns, please).

Help Hope Live is a national nonprofit that specializes in engaging communities in secure, tax-deductible fundraising campaigns for people who need a transplant or are affected by a catastrophic injury or illness. Since 1983, campaigns organized by Help Hope Live have raised over $136 million to pay patient expenses. ###

Written by Emily Progin