Update On Megan Waggoner
This story continues to touch my heart. Over the holiday weekend, Lauren emailed to give an update on Megan. I urge you again to please help in any way you can! Lauren and Megan’s relationship is what true friendship is all about!
Hey Mrs. Bristol,I just updated the article I wrote on Megan Waggoner because a lot has gone on since the last article. It would be great if you could post this or send it out to people you know! I got a lot of great response due to your help online. Thanks a ton!Lauren Swift
To all of my cherished neighbors within the community,
First and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude for taking the action of reading this article. I realize that reading this letter will take time out of your other daily tasks; as a full time student at Centenary College, I completely understand the importance of not wasting time. It would mean the world to me if you would simply pass the word on to the ones you come in contact with. As your neighbor in this community, my goal throughout this letter is to raise awareness about a family in Bossier City, LA who is facing an ongoing tragedy and propose a wonderful opportunity for us to fill a need.
My name is Lauren Swift, and I am a current student-athlete at Centenary College of Louisiana. 3 years ago, I was given the wonderful opportunity to leave my hometown on a softball scholarship to Bossier Parish Community College. BPCC was the beginning of a wonderful relationship between my family and the Waggoner family. As I was a new college student 4 hours away from home, the Waggoner family treated me like one of their own. Playing softball with Megan and her twin sister, Mallory, was an experience that I would not trade for the world. Sharing times as a student-athlete with the Waggoner twins not only gave me 2 life-long best friends, but also gave me an outlook on life that consisted of ecstatic motivation and enthusiasm.
Last spring as BPCC heavily prepared for conference play, Megan started feeling very weak at practice. As an appalling surprise to Megan and the rest of her peers, March 2011 would be considered the last softball game of her life. Her story was the number one factor that led our team to the regional tournament. As Steve Jobs said during his last speech at Stanford graduation, “Live each day to the fullest, because you never know when something can be taken away from you.” After practice one day, Megan was hospitalized due to the abrupt formation of blood clots in her lungs. However, this was miniscule compared to hardships that Megan has withstood to this day.
When Megan and Mallory Waggoner were in 6th grade, Megan began having heart problems. She was diagnosed with Graves’ disease and had to endure a long process of radiation to kill her thyroid gland due to an overactive metabolism. She was later diagnosed with a psychological and neurochemical problem called Musculoskeletal Fibromyalgia, which is a disease that attacks the muscles. Doctors told Megan that she should never play sports again because any sort of trauma could arouse her disease and cause constant pain and weakness throughout her body. Senior year in high school, Mallory Waggoner collapsed in the hallway at school after telling Megan that she could not feel her leg or arm. Mallory went into a coma for the next 5 days, and doctors told the Waggoner family that she would not ever come out of this state. Miraculously, Mallory came out of a coma and was diagnosed with Spinal Meningitis. Within a 2 week period of this occurrence, Megan began having multiple strokes. The strokes caused short term memory loss due to brain damage, and limited tunnel vision in her eye. Doctors believe that Megan became ill again due to the trauma that she suffered during her twin sister’s time in a coma. During the time of both Megan and Mallory being hospitalized, their older sister, Courtney, was in her pregnancy. Their parents, David and Melissa Waggoner, have gone through such an extreme and overwhelming parenthood, but God never gives anyone and obstacle that cannot be overcome. It is hard to comprehend that there are so many traumatizing events and health issues within such a sweet, beautiful family.
God placed both of the twins back on the softball field in 2009, where we first united at BPCC. Mallory is fortunate enough to have the health to continue her softball career at LSU-Alexandria. Megan however, is still in the midst of fighting many different diseases. Recently Megan has been diagnosed with Anti phospholipid anti-body syndrome, which means that her body spontaneously creates blood clots. This is an extremely rare disease that is diagnosed within 1-5% of Americans. In the midst of cultivating this specific ailment, the doctors discovered a hole in Megan’s heart, which could potentially retain a blood clot and kill her. Megan had heart surgery in May of 2011, and since then has been diagnosed with Internal Lupus and Pleurisy. With this situation at hand, it is extremely difficult for Megan to find happiness.
Megan has been put on 11 different types of medication each day, one of which includes blood thinner- Coumadin. Recently, doctors have quoted that “Megan has the immune system of an 85 year old woman.” In October, Megan was admitted into the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, which was considered a last resort for Megan’s health. During her first time at the Mayo Clinic in October, I received a text message from Megan saying, “I am not receiving any good news but I am trying to stay positive. I just got diagnosed with ANOTHER disorder called Celiac. It means my body rejects to absorb any medication which is why I haven’t been getting any better or reducing the amount of blood clots.” As Megan’s best friend, my mind is 100% set on doing whatever it takes to help out this family.
On December 10, Megan had multiple strokes in her sleep. She woke up with loss of eyesight in one eye and only tunnel vision in the other, which is one of the many negative side effects of a blood clot in her brain. The Mayo Clinic was unfortunately not her last visit to the hospital. Megan has undergone every possible route of healing processes, which have obviously not helped at all. Doctors in Shreveport said that her only option to be completely safe is to keep her in ICU to watch her from having strokes. The blood thinners and the internal filter are both paths that are not working for Megan’s body.
The most recent update on Megan as of January 2, 2012: Megan and her parents drove to Baltimore 3 days before Christmas to see a doctor at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. It was devastating to see them leave without the entire family for Christmas, due to their inability to finance the entire family’s travel expenses. After entering the emergency room at Johns Hopkins, Megan was sent to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. David Waggoner drove over night through a blizzard to get to the Mayo Clinic by Christmas day. Megan and her parents stayed in a hotel room in Minnesota through the Christmas holidays while Megan’s twin and older sister spent Christmas in Bossier City, LA. Doctors did an angiogram and multiple other tests on her heart and brain. After numerous tests on Megan, still no cure has been found for her diagnosis. Megan will continue taking her medication and daily stomach shot, hoping that strokes do not randomly occur as they have in the past. In words of Melissa Waggoner, “I will do whatever it takes to see Megan healthy again. I would sell my house in a heartbeat if that is what it takes to get Megan back to normal.”
Now take a second to put yourself in Megan’s shoes. Imagine having your health and ability to perform physical activity taken away from you so quickly. Now imagine the harsh reality that has to be dealt with every day as a parent or sibling of Megan. Never knowing what could happen next or how long they have with Megan is a concern that they can never overcome. I feel as if the anxiety, trauma, and hassles that come about from having a family member in such condition are more emotion then any person should have to endure. As an outsider looking in, it is impossible to even comprehend how those issues are mentally dealt with. Therefore, I believe that financial matters should be lifted off of the shoulders of the Waggoner family. This is why I am bringing our caring community into action.
Throughout my internship with the Independence Bowl, I was able to raise $425 dollars for Megan through ticket sales. This was a great start for my fundraiser, and I pray that it continues to grow. I appreciate everyone who has helped and is willing to help me continue the fundraiser for Megan. The Waggoner family is still in the midst of paying hospital bills from 8 years ago, and unfortunately the hospital visits, as well as the prices, continue to increase.
There is now a page on Facebook that I recommend everyone to like: “Miracles For Megan.” I am accepting any type of donations for their family. I am asking that checks be made to Melissa Waggoner and mailed to ME at 3864 Greenway Place Shreveport LA 71105. Romans 15:1 says, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.” It has been a long run for the Waggoner family. It is our duty to think outside of ourselves and facilitate the needs of those who are less fortunate. Throughout my time of active voluntarism, I have learned the crucial magnitude, yet benefits of involving the community to help resolve an issue. Your help is not only wanted, it is needed. I look forward to seeing the outcome of your assistance. Let’s take advantage of our ability to help others; I can guarantee you that it will not be unnoticed. Please contact me with any questions, concerns, or interests in this opportunity; I would love to consider you a helping partner. Remember, the littlest things make the biggest difference!
Lauren Swift Officer of Centenary College Rotaract Centenary College ‘13
Cell (409) 454-0020 Lswift@my.centenary.edu