The Walters, Steven, Jill, MaKenna and Mitchell, December 2011.
MaKenna Walters, the young North Platte girl who drew an outpouring of prayers, fundraisers and good wishes from hundreds of residents, died Sunday.
“Today our precious MaKenna went to live with Jesus,” her mother Jill said in a simple statement on facebook.
The announcement brought hundreds of good wishes from friends and acquaintances.
MaKenna, 8, had been in a hospital in Little Rock, Ark. for nearly three months.
She was born with a hole in her heart and suffered many complications, but maintained good spirits despite everything, Jill said.
“She’s had lots of health issues her whole life -- none of which seem to bother her,” Jill told the Bulletin in May. “She’s her usual spunky self. It amazes the doctors that she has so much energy. Looking from the outside, you wouldn’t guess there’s anything wrong.”
In early June, MaKenna received a long awaited heart transplant.
By mid-August, medical bills had climbed above $3 million, Jill estimated.
Jill expressed thanks for insurance, Medically Handicapped Children's Program assistance and friends in North Platte and, as word spread, from around the world.
Steven Walters, MaKenna's father, works at Mentzer Oil in North Platte. Jill is a teacher at Cody School.
MaKenna was born Aug. 2, 2004 in North Platte. She was a first grader at Hall School. She was an independent, feisty, strong little girl with a stubborn streak, her family said. She loved soccer and school and enjoyed writing.
After spending time in the hospital, MaKenna had decided she wanted to become a nurse at “her” Omaha Children’s Hospital, her family said.
Memorials may be made in her name and online condolences may be shared at www.adamsswanson.com.
Services will be 11 a.m. Saturday at the Bethel Evangelical Free Church with the Rev. Dan Reimer officiating. Burial will be in Floral Lawns Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday at Adams & Swanson Funeral Home and from 6-9 p.m. Friday at the Bethel Evangelical Free Church.
Survivors include her brother, Mitchell Walters of North Platte; grandparents, Michael and Beverly Gardner, Richard and Ruth Hoffman and Eldon and Janice Walters all of North Platte; great-grandparents, Richard and Mildred Hoffman of Grand Island and Betty Gardner of North Platte; godparents, Michael and Marcie Morrell of North Platte; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.