We introduced you to Mackenzie in 2021 and she has (literally) made some great strides since that time and we are happy to for her return as a 2022 Ambassador to share how her life continues to evolve. Born 24 weeks early at only 15 ounces in November 2018, Mackenzie spent almost a year in the neonatal intensive care unit and returned home dependent on a ventilator and feeding tube. When Mackenzie hadn’t started crawling or walking by her second birthday in November 2020, her therapist recommended her parents seek out the ADAPT Shop.

Southwest Human Development’s ADAPT Shop identifies, modifies and builds customized equipment for children with disabilities. Mackenzie and her parents worked with Beth Rank, an occupational therapist, and Jacob Sustayta, the ADAPT Shop’s fabricator to find a mobility device to help Mackenzie learn to walk. They fitted Mackenzie for a pacer gait trainer and she was on the move!

Ironically, when a gait trainer was approved and received by the family nearly eight months later, Mackenzie was walking on her own. Not only did she return the loaned equipment to the ADAPT Shop, but she gifted them with her new gait trainer that was no longer necessary to the family.


Mackenzie loves anything outdoors, like going on walks or going to the park, and loves playing with musical toys like her piano or toddler drum set. Now that she’s walking unassisted, her parents are having trouble keeping up!


“After several weeks of working with her to help her get comfortable with [the pacer gait trainer], one day, she just decided to pull herself up all on her own (which she had never done before) and just started kicking her legs out to walk! Ever since then, she LOVES her walker and uses it all the time – she’s developed leaps and bounds with the help of her walker and we’re confident she wouldn’t have progressed as quickly without it.” – Lindsay, Mackenzie’s mom.


Not only is Mackenzie now walking on her own, she was able to have the tracheotomy removed and she is beginning to explore more of her world without concerns for the external equipment that was needed.