Kayleigh’s Sepsis Story - Quadruple Amputee Turning Tragedy into Triumph

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Kayleigh Ferguson-Walker, young wife, mother, devout Christian, and awe-inspiring spirit is the bubbly South Florida woman who is becoming an international figure due to her ability to motivate countless lives without initially intending to do so. The now 32-year old Kayleigh captured global headlines in 2017 when she suffered a trilogy of unexpected experiences beyond what most people could ever fathom, yet remained steadfast in her spiritual faith in spite of her new circumstances. It was during her sixth month of pregnancy that Kayleigh suddenly became ill one evening and had to be rushed to a local hospital. What transpired next would forever change her life and the lives of her family members and friends.

Shortly after entering the hospital's Emergency Room, Kayleigh was diagnosed with a very severe infection and sepsis was quickly spreading throughout her body. Sepsis not only claimed the life of her unborn son, but also led to Kayleigh being forced to have both of her own arms and both of her own legs amputated in order to save her life. Quite a sacrifice for a woman who was merely seeking to have a (second) child.

Unexpectedly, a lingering separate story of heartache that occurred a few years earlier crossed paths and oddly connected Kayleigh's story to another. In April of 2012, my one and only son (who was a college sophomore at the time) was tragically shot in the head and killed at the tender age of 25-years old. Dealing with the overwhelming stress of such a profound loss, I was soon diagnosed with high blood pressure, which led to kidney failure and other health challenges that altered my life as well.

Instead of remaining bitter towards the world over the loss of my son, I was faced with two options: continue to grow resentful towards the world around me or use my experience as a motivating factor to try to help someone else's life who is enduring an immense challenge of their own. Thus, upon learning of Kayleigh's unfortunate circumstances, which began with her health crisis followed by her unfair termination of employment as a Pharmacy Technician after she was unable to return to work within a few months due to her enduring and healing from multiple surgeries, and being made aware of the couple's mounting financial challenges, I felt compelled to take the initiative to accomplish something big by simply sparking a small gesture. A random act of kindness without expecting anything in return from them or anyone else. And, proof of what limitless things God can orchestrate by using one ordinary person to accomplish extraordinary things.

Strangers to me prior to reaching out to Kayleigh and her amazingly supportive husband Ramon, I chose to follow a Biblical philosophy (* James 2: 14-17 - “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by ACTION, is dead.”) 

After a series of conversations and meetings with the Ferguson-Walker family, it was determined that the best way to accommodate helping Kayleigh and her small family, which includes her husband Ramon and their 4-year old daughter Aaliyah, is to spearhead building her a one-level, ADA-compliant, Ranch-style house that will be equipped with smart home technology, which will allow her to control most things inside the home with the simple use of voice commands. 

On the contrary, critics who've spanned from leaders of several well-known nonprofit organizations to decision-makers throughout the philanthropic community, to even leaders of many church/faith-based organizations across the nation, to members of the general public (and some within my own social circles too) have insinuated that my objective was “noble, admirable, even impressive, but likely impossible at best.” Further made challenging by the fact they each either nonchalantly refused to partner with the Ferguson-Walker's and myself for this project or else they sheepishly offered us nothing more than “lip service,” yet nothing tangible. 

Fiercely determined, I reached out to several homebuilders throughout the Southeast U.S. and advocated for Kayleigh to each of them until one agreed to build the home and sell it to the Ferguson-Walker's at cost. So, this is why we need your help and that of so many others - there is strength in numbers! Accordingly, we are seeking small financial donations to help Kayleigh have a house built that she can comfortably call “home” again. We welcome you, your family members, friends and co-workers to be a part of the 'Kayleigh Ferguson-Walker Homebuilding Fund' by contributing to the project.

Additionally, we may not lose sight of the fact that sepsis, the devastating global killer that caused Kayleigh to lose her unborn son, both arms, and both legs in the first place, is nothing less than a neglected global health crisis. Sepsis is both the main reason for amputations as well the number one healthcare expenditure in the US.

The article above was written by Santura Pegram and is shared here with his and Kayleigh’s explicit consent. The views in the article do not necessarily represent those of the Global Sepsis Alliance. They are not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The whole team here at the GSA and World Sepsis Day wishes to thank Kayleigh and her family as well as Santura for sharing their story and for fighting to raise awareness of sepsis.

Please consider supporting Kayleigh’s homebuilding fund to make her house accessible-friendly or to donate to WSD to support our cause.

Marvin Zick