Fundraiser planned for Centre Burlington family whose toddler has brain damage

Published on May 13, 2017

Makayla Milbury, left, and her twin sister, MacKenzie, share a special bond. This photo was taken shortly before the girls came into contact with E. coli. MacKenzie recovered quickly; Makayla suffered complications and now has brain damage.


CENTRE BURLINGTON, N.S. — Vickie Kennedy bursts into tears just thinking about her grand-daughter and the long road to recovery that lies ahead.

Her voice cracks as she tries to describe Makayla Milbury – who, at just two years old, began fighting for her life.

“It just makes me so sad,” said Kennedy, looking at before and after photos of the youngster.

Kennedy is busy organizing a fundraiser to help bring Makayla home from the hospital – and she hopes the community will chip in.

Makayla celebrated her second birthday with her sister, MacKenzie, on Aug. 7, 2016. The vibrant, playful child, who was always full of smiles and cuddles, shared a strong bond with her twin sister.

“Makayla was the leader. She was the one that would take MacKenzie by the hand and they'd go sit on the stairs and they'd talk. We wouldn't understand them but they knew what they were saying to each other,” said Kennedy.

“She would go get a diaper and put it under MacKenzie and tell her mother 'it's time to change her' – and now it's reversed,” said Kennedy, her voice softening as she recalls the events leading up to Makayla's extended hospital stay.

MacKenzie Milbury comforts her twin sister Makayla, who has been in the hospital since shortly after turning two years old.

Last year, Makayla's father, Dana Milbury, fell ill. Then her eldest brother, Ethan, came down with a similar sickness near the end of August.

“They ended up taking Ethan to the hospital here in Windsor. They said he had the flu and sent him home,” said Kennedy, adding that the hospital later called when blood work results indicated the presence of E. coli.

He was sick for about 10 days. Two days after he got better, Makayla got sick and MacKenzie followed suit three days later. MacKenzie quickly bounced back; Makayla didn't.

“They took the girls to the hospital two or three times before they finally ended up taking Makayla, by ambulance, to the IWK,” said Kennedy.

Makayla was hospitalized. Initially she was suffering from E. coli poisoning, but complications soon arose.

She ended up in the intensive care unit and placed in a medically induced coma in an effort to help her body fight back. The E. coli infection wreaked havoc, causing problems with her pancreas, kidneys and brain.

Vickie Kennedy cuddles her granddaughter Makayla Milbury, who is still at the IWK recuperating from complications from E. coli poisoning.

Makayla's parents – Tracy and Dana Milbury – haven't been able to work since the ordeal began about eight months ago. When one parent is at the hospital, the other is home caring for their three other children.

“It's a sin. The whole family has changed,” said Kennedy.

Makayla is alert now, and on the mend, but Kennedy said the youngster will have lifelong medical needs. She has brain damage and cannot walk.

“It's just a sad, sad, thing that should have never happened. She should have been home months and months ago,” said Kennedy.

And getting her home to Centre Burlington is just what Kennedy intends to help the family do.

She's hoping the June 10 dinner and auction that she's hosting at the Centre Burlington Community Hall will raise enough funds for the Milburys to renovate their house to make it wheelchair accessible, and to help offset travel expenses related to medical appointments, plus physiotherapy and speech therapy sessions.

The spaghetti supper will run from 2-6 p.m., with the silent and live auction to follow. She's also selling raffle tickets on a Molson Coors bar fridge, with the draw date being the long weekend in August.

“What we're asking for is the communities in this area to all pull together for this fundraiser,” said Kennedy, who has also been raising awareness of her granddaughter's plight in her home province of New Brunswick. She spends weeks at a time in Nova Scotia to help.

“We need to raise close to $40,000.”


How to help

To find out how to donate to the auction or help out at the supper, or to contribute financially to the Milburys, contact Vickie Kennedy at 1-506-323-1990 or by email at