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Lacey Pate

Lacey Pate has been called Auburndale’s Inspiration. She was born with an extremely rare genetic disorder called King Syndrome. Her family was advised that Lacey would not be able to live outside of the womb. She is now 14.

She spent the first 32 days of her life at Tampa General and had her first surgery at 3 weeks old. Lacey has severe kyphoscoliosis which caused her spine to crush her lung, so she was on a ventilator and gradually made her way to oxygen 24/7. She has chronic respiratory insufficiency, webbing of the neck, low set ears with severe hearing loss (she wears hearing aids), and Arthrogryposis.

She gets around mainly in her wheelchair. She also was born with a severe club foot and a vertical tail, she has had surgery on her feet 3 times but still, her feet can’t sit flat on the floor. When Lacey was 3 her spine was at an 80-degree angle and her body was the shape of a C. Lacey’s pulmonary specialist had admitted her to the pediatric intensive care unit because her spine was crushing the lung so severely that even with oxygen and a bi-pap machine she was having difficulty breathing.

She has now had a total of 47 surgeries. Since having these life-saving surgeries she now only has to have oxygen at night, while flying, when she is sick, and after surgery during her recovery. After her most recent surgery in May, Lacey’s lungs collapsed and she was put on a ventilator and had to have a chest tube placed. She has been in critical condition several times but she is a miracle girl who just refuses to let the condition define her.

Safe Step Walk-In Tub Company, which routinely receives numerous letters for tub donations, heard about Lacey’s story and found her online donation site. Through its award-winning national program of giving, Safe Step Cares, the Nashville-based company delivered a state-of-the-art tub to Lacey at no cost to the family in May. Safe Step Cares is based on a promise the owner made to his dying mother, who helped him start the business. He told her if the company became successful that it would make a difference in peoples’ lives through charitable giving.

“We were moved by Lacey’s story and how the community has rallied around her,” said Mike Duffer, president and founder of Safe Step Walk-In Tub, who flew in for the event in order to meet Lacey and her parents. “We came upon her online campaign and decided that after all she and her family had been through, we would surprise them by giving her a tub that will change her life.”

Safe Step became aware of Lacey via a letter written by Tim O’Brien, who heard about Lacey’s situation despite never having met her or her parents. Safe Step decided to fly Tim and his wife Daryl to Auburndale in order to meet Lacey and her parents. That will happen later in July of 2014.