A Miraculous Place for a Miracle Young Man

Home » Standard Blog » A Miraculous Place for a Miracle Young Man
A Miraculous Place for a Miracle Young Man

A Miraculous Place for a Miracle Young Man

Before he was born, 17-year-old Mekhi Floyd faced life-threatening challenges. His mom, Altovise Floyd, became concerned about a month before her due date, having noticed limited movement by Mekhi. Seeking medical care, it was determined that she would need to have her baby boy right away and so labor was induced.

Mere hours after his birth, Mekhi would undergo surgery. Doctors discovered he had necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a serious illness that causes tissue in the large intestine to become inflamed, killing tissue in the colon. He spent the next seven months at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta undergoing multiple surgeries and fighting serious infections.

Once Mekhi came home, the roller coaster life began of battling infections, failure to thrive, and malabsorption. Unable to tolerate eating, he was fed through an IV and ultimately suffered liver failure. At 18 months of age, he underwent a multi-organ transplant – intestines, pancreas, stomach, and liver transplant.

“Mekhi’s medical journey is quite extensive. I often view him as my miracle,” says Floyd. “We are very thankful for his second chance at life.”

That second chance brought Dr. Stephanie Jernigan into the Floyd family’s lives when Mekhi was seven years old. While managing his chronic kidney disease, Dr. Jernigan would recommend Camp Independence, a weeklong summer camp for children ages 8 to 18 who have kidney disease, are on dialysis or have received an organ transplant.

“I was always apprehensive because of Mekhi’s unique medical and intellectual challenges,” explains Floyd. “It wasn’t until four years later that I finally felt comfortable enough to allow him the chance to attend camp.”

Camp Independence is held at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge in partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Children who attend camp are provided fun activities under the watchful eyes of a full medical staff who provide around-the-clock, on-site care the entire week.

Despite her concerns for her immunocompromised son who also has anaphylactic food allergies and has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and an intellectual disability, Floyd feels allowing Mekhi to attend Camp Independence is one of the best decisions she’s made. “I’ve seen how his camp experience has aided in his growth. And while I wish Mekhi could have started camp sooner, I believe he started when it was right for us.”

Every year since the age of 11, Mekhi has looked forward to meeting new campers and camp counselors, riding bikes, doing arts & crafts, and spending time with his cabin mates. He even looks after his fellow campers. During his first experience at camp, a camper needed medical care and Mekhi was right there to hold the camper’s hand.

Mekhi shows this same kindness to his mother and medical team. When his mom, who is terrified of needles, needs a shot, he is there to remind her to be brave and is always quick to thank her for taking him to his doctor’s appointments. The last time he was in the hospital, Mekhi decided to give cookies and a handwritten thank you card to the staff.

Life has slowed down a little for the usually active Mekhi since the recent pandemic. “When the mortality of your child is questionable, it has a way of allowing you to remain focused on the things that matter most,” reminds Floyd.

And for Mekhi – a teenager who plays the piano and snare drums, enjoys cooking, and loves people and animals – these are some of the important things in life.

By Michelle Nunnally