WYOMING, Minn.-- By the pink glow of a lamp, shaped like a tube of lipstick, sits McKenna Konze in her room in Wyoming, Minn. It's the place she feels most comfortable, and the only place she can take off her sunglasses.
"My pupils are dilated to an 8 out of 9," says 17-year-old who everyone calls Kenna.
She speaks so matter-of-factly about what has happened and how her life has changed over the last 20 months.
"We were playing capture the flag and I was running back from the other side from the ball and I collided with another student," says Kenna.
Sixteen at the time, Kenna broke her cheekbone in two places and crushed her occipital nerve in that accident in gym class. She suffered a traumatic brain injury too. Her eyes, they've come to find out, are permanently dilated, which means she'll have to wear dark glasses forever. Kenna also suffers from non-epileptic seizures and wears hearing-aids to tone down the sounds which give her migraines. She also recently had a device surgically implanted in her head to help with the pain.
"They hook it to your nerves and they're trying to trick the brain so that it doesn't feel hurt," she explains.
The teenager hasn't been to school since the accident in February 2011. Her eyes don't focus enough for her to read, so she can't continue her schooling at home, and she rarely leaves the house except for therapy.
"She's pretty amazing. She's got a strength that I take from instead of the other way around," says her mom, Lisa Miller.
Lisa has become full-time caregiver to her daughter, which is hard for many to understand because Kenna is clearly bright and alert, but unable to be alone.
"My hope for her is that she finds her niche in this world, different from what she thought it would be, and that it fulfills her and gives her what she needs because she deserves that," says Lisa.
Right now the prognosis for recovery isn't very good, but that's not something Kenna, her mom or family, have any interest in hearing.
"I'd like people to know, don't give up hope, because there's no life without hope," says Kenna.
Kenna is one of six children in the family and medical bills are mounting. There is a fundraiser this Saturday, Oct. 20 to help the family out.
It's at The Dog House in Maplewood from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mick Sterling will be performing, there will be a silent auction and plenty of other fun activities. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.
If you can't attend, you can still donate through Anchor Bank.Make Checks out to Troy Miller. Memo: Kenna's Kure. The account number is #30311142