“Though she be but little, she is fierce.”
That’s how Helena described Hermia in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I would say that it applies to 14-year-old Kenadie Jourdin Bromley as well.
Back in 2003, Brianne Jourdin of Ontario, Canada, gave birth to Kenadie. She weighed only 2.5 pounds and was only 11 inches long. She was so small, in fact, that the nurses called her “Thumbelina.” To make matters worse, part of her brain was missing.
Doctors told Jourdin that her daughter would likely suffer severe brain damage and was given only a matter of days to live.
Not knowing when her daughter would pass, Jourdin took Kenadie to be baptized on the day she was born.
“It was like mourning,” Jourdin told Barcroft TV. “The idea of all of the life that you imagined for your child has suddenly been taken away.”
Yet Kenadie pushed through those early days, proving the doctors wrong.
“We thought we were gonna take our baby home to die, because that’s what they told us,” Jourdin said. “Then we were home and we were able to just live life every day. Eventually we realized that she wasn’t gonna die and we were just gonna live every day with our baby.”
At 8 months old, she was diagnosed with a form of primordial dwarfism which effects only about 100 people worldwide. This condition can cause bone fragility, respiratory issues, premature aging, and other symptoms. Yet 14 years later, Kenadie is still alive and kicking!
“She’s kind hearted, she is loving and wants to share everything with everyone. She is feisty, determined and independent,” her mother said.
Kenadie goes to a normal classroom in a normal school with plenty of full-sized kids her age. She’s much smaller than her classmates, about the size of a two-year-old, yet she manages to maintain an active social life.
She’ll go out with her friends for ice skating and bowling. Her academic development is lower than her peers but she’s determined to keep up with her classmates. Her mother is incredibly proud of her and all of her accomplishments.
“It makes me proud—it makes me cry—I cry every time she’s on the skating rink. Everything she does I cry,” Jourdin said. “She has definitely proved all those doctors wrong. She had defied all odds. She has overcome so many obstacles.”
Kenadie’s life still isn’t perfect and she’s certainly got bigger health concerns to worry about than most teenagers. One of her biggest concerns is experiencing an aneurysm. Yet Brianne and others have made sure to closely monitor these risks to minimize any damage they might cause.
“Most parents don’t have imagine their kid living past whatever age but it’s a reality for us that we’ll probably lose her,” Jourdin admitted. “You lose your breath for a moment and it’s just reality. I know that there are other parents out there with kids in the same situation who know exactly what I’m talking about.”
Still, for now, Kenadie is a smart, capable, sassy teenager. She has plenty of friends at school and gets along well with her younger brother, Tyran, who stands up for Kenadie and asserts that she’s just like everybody else.
“Sometimes, if we’re outside at the park, if anybody says something mean about her, I’ll go up and say ‘What if you were like that? What if people did that to you?'” Tyran told Barcroft TV.
While Kenadie’s struggles may have tested Jourdin’s faith a few times, she has far from given up on her.
“If we can make it through today, then we’ll see tomorrow!” she proclaims.
Fight on, little Kenadie. Fight on.