Mom on a mission to help after Kawasaki’s disease nearly claims daughter’s life

Bright Spot

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Mid-South mom has a new mission in life after a rare illness, known as Kawasaki’s disease, nearly claimed her daughter’s life.

Loleta Dickerson is not only spreading awareness of the disease, she’s supporting families who are going through what her family did.

Dr. Nick Hysmith, infectious disease specialist at Le Bonheur, said Kawasaki’s disease is a sort of a systemic inflammation.

“Your immune system becomes very excited, and you become really inflamed all over,” Hysmith said. “we see this not infrequently here at Le Bonheur.”

The condition tends to hit one in 10,000 American children under 5. One day, it came knocking on Dickerson’s door.

“They said initially that she had an ear infection, but the ear infection didn’t get better and the fever never went away, and I took her to the emergency room,” Dickerson said. 

Next, they went to Le Bonheur.

“They told me it could’ve been fatal for her if I hadn’t brought her in that time frame,” she said.  

Keara Grace Tucker went through treatments, getting better by the day.

“I give God all the praise because God helped to heal her,” Dickerson said.

Blessed with a turnaround in her daughter’s health, Dickerson is now paying it forward, hoping to reach parents and spread the word. She is founder and CEO of Extended Hands of Hope.

“I know what it feels like,” she said, “and it feels good to be able to have somebody give you support when you’re going through something like that.”

After having to stay in the hospital for nearly two months, Dickerson’s heart for giving has grown.

She’s not only focused on raising awareness about Kawasaki’s disease, but on truly helping low-income families who aren’t able to afford the basic necessities while their child is going through treatment.

“A lot of times I would eat off the food that they brought, because I didn’t have the money to get that, and it just created a desire in me to help other people,” she said. “If I’m sitting here and I don’t have the money to even go down to swipe a card at the vending machine to get a pack of chips, somebody else may be going through the same thing.”

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