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Welcome Home McKenzie!

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Doug Harris was still hard at work when I arrived at 8 o'clock at night to join them for McKenzie's homecoming. Although most of the addition is complete, there's still a lot of finishing work that needs to be done. Doug was running the electricity for some lighting in McKenzie's room while mom worked with the nursing staff to get her little girl settled it.

It has been five months since the head-on crash that left McKenzie, Sara and Doug hospitalized.

Sara and Doug were able to leave the hospital several months ago, but McKenzie's injuries are much more serious. She has just started to have some movement in her arms, but most of her body remains paralyzed and she still requires a ventilator to breathe.

As they were driving McKenzie home from the hospital, Sarah says it was like being a new mom all over again.

"She was in the NICU for nine days and we brought her home in a minivan, just me and dad, and now we're taking her home in a minivan just me and dad. It was perfect!" Sarah says.

There were several family members and nurses waiting at the Harris home in Eatonville, including McKenzie's little brother Wyatt. Wyatt just turned four years old, and McKenzie came home on his birthday. Doug says his little boy was jumping up and down and running toward the van as they pulled in.

As excited as they all are, packing up McKenzie's hospital room was tough. Sarah says she was overwhelmed with the idea that she might forget something critical to McKenzie's care. It was also difficult leaving the staff at Seattle Children's.

"Even though we were doing the majority of the care, they were always there like our lifeline," says Sarah. "So, leaving that lifeline was scary, to say the least."

Once they made it home, McKenzie got a quick tour of her new room before she was settled in to her bed in the living room. While she hasn't had a chance to see all the details that have gone into the project, McKenzie already has a few favorite things - like the big bath tub and the new oven where she wants to have a baking part with her friends.

With summer right around the corner, most families are making plans right now. Sarah says her family has always loved going to the beach, but they'll be doing things a little differently this year.

"We've decided that we are going to make our house and our property the place to be. We're going to camp, we're going to play, we're going to hike in our yard. Anything that we would do outside of our house we're just going to do here," Sarah says.

They've checked with the doctors to make sure it's okay for McKenzie to be in the home while they finish construction, and they'll be keeping a close eye on her ventilator and other equipment just in case.

Sarah has also been talking with Tacoma General Hospital about going back to work. Fortunately, she'll be able to do most of her work from home for a while. But, that will add one more thing to the list for this hard-working family.

"I think it's going to be really hard. I'm just going to have to find a balance," says Sarah. "When it's Kenzie time, when it's Wyatt time, when it's mommy time, when it's mommy and daddy time. Just find some kind of balance."

All the supplies for the entire remodeling project have been donated, but there is still a bit of finishing work that needs to get done. If you've got any skills that might help the Harris family out, you can contact Katrina Flowers at http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/the-harris-family/130765 or https://www.facebook.com/TeamMcKenzieHarris

Kim Shepard, KIRO Radio Reporter
Kim Shepard is a news anchor and reporter for KIRO Radio and the office optimist. She's energetic, quick to laugh and has a positive outlook on life.
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