Vibrant 2-Yr-Old Dies Days After Getting Sick. Now Parents Warn About Deadly Illness That Killed Her







One devastated family is sharing their story with the world in the hope that no one else will ever have to endure the same heartbreak they did.

Two-year-old Kenley Ratliff was like a little ray of sunshine wherever she went. She loved to go to the park and run around in the grass.

Little did her parents know, though, that the thing she loved so much would end up leading to her death.

One day, Kenley started running a fever. Her parents took her to the emergency room twice as the fever got worse, but doctors told them they suspected the little girl just had strep throat.

As the symptoms continued to worsen, though, Kenley’s parents knew it was something more serious. The toddler’s fever spiked, her hands began to swell, and a purple rash erupted all over her body.

“She had purple rashes, splotches all over her body in an ununiform [sic] pattern, just all over, little tiny purple spots, big purple patches,” said family friend Nichol Kirby. “Just the condition of this poor baby laying there the way she was, it’s a mother’s nightmare, a father’s nightmare.”

The Ratliffs took Kenley to the hospital again, and this time the doctors told them their daughter’s condition was more serious than they had originally believed. They diagnosed the little girl with possible Rocky Mountain Fever, a serious illness spread by ticks.

They immediately intubated Kenley, put her on a ventilator, and pumped her with antibiotics.

Sadly, though, the illness quickly spread and began to attack Kenley’s brain.

“Kenley currently has little to no brain activity,” her family shared on their GoFundMe page where they were trying to raise funds for Kenley’s treatment. “Her brain is so swollen, it’s pushing onto her spine. She is currently on a breathing machine to stay alive, but she is surrounded by her loving family. We are hoping for a miracle right now for this sweet baby.”

But that miracle never came. On June 3, the family decided to turn off Kenley’s ventilator and say their heartbreaking goodbyes.

Nothing is more devastating than the loss of a child, but the Ratliffs are determined to use their loss for good. They are now working to spread awareness about the serious dangers of tick-borne illnesses.

Many of these illnesses can initially present as other kinds of sicknesses with symptoms including rashes, fevers, headaches, and nausea.

Doctors are warning parents to regularly check their children for ticks whenever they play outside. Spotting a tick early could save a life.

“Our goal is to spread awareness of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in hopes of saving other children’s lives,” the family said. “Please continue to spread awareness!”

Mesothelioma Cancer
Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Caused by asbestos, mesothelioma has no known cure and has a very poor prognosis.

According to a 2017 report by the Centers for Disease Control, 2,400 – 2,800 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the United States each year. People who have worked with or been exposed to asbestos have the highest risk of developing mesothelioma. After being exposed to asbestos, mesothelioma symptoms can take 20 – 50 years to appear.

The life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is poor, as there is no cure for the disease. The stage of the disease, cell type, and location of the tumor(s) are the most important factors for a patient’s survival. Factors such as the patient’s overall health, age, and whether the cancer has spread also impact prognosis.

After receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis, there are a number of vital decisions that must be made. The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance is dedicated to providing patients with the best resources available on current treatment, stories of survival and hope, and financial assistance.
Types of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is most commonly classified by the location in the body where it develops. Specifically, the cancer forms in the lining of certain organs or spaces within the body, known as the mesothelium. Mesothelioma typically develops in one of three specific areas.
Diagnosing Mesothelioma Symptoms
Mesothelioma symptoms can take 20 – 50 years to appear after the first exposure to asbestos. The signs of mesothelioma often look like those of other diseases, which can lead to misdiagnosis. When someone exhibits mesothelioma symptoms, doctors perform a variety of tests to rule out other diseases. It normally takes weeks or months for doctors to arrive at an accurate mesothelioma diagnosis.
Upon diagnosis, the doctor will categorize the disease into one of four stages. While there are several staging systems, the TNM System — which stands for tumor, lymph nodes, and metastasis — is the most commonly used.
Mesothelioma Cancer
Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Caused by asbestos, mesothelioma has no known cure and has a very poor prognosis.

According to a 2017 report by the Centers for Disease Control, 2,400 – 2,800 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the United States each year. People who have worked with or been exposed to asbestos have the highest risk of developing mesothelioma. After being exposed to asbestos, mesothelioma symptoms can take 20 – 50 years to appear.

The life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is poor, as there is no cure for the disease. The stage of the disease, cell type, and location of the tumor(s) are the most important factors for a patient’s survival. Factors such as the patient’s overall health, age, and whether the cancer has spread also impact prognosis.

After receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis, there are a number of vital decisions that must be made. The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance is dedicated to providing patients with the best resources available on current treatment, stories of survival and hope, and financial assistance.

Mesothelioma Survivorship and Life Expectancy
Prognosis
Prognosis
How a disease will progress. A prognosis can be good or bad, and may include a life expectancy estimate.
MORE Life Expectancy
Life Expectancy
How long a patient can expect to survive. This may change with treatment and other developments.
MORE Survival Rate
Survival Rate
A statistic (percentage or ratio) indicating how many people live a certain amount of time after diagnosis.
MORE
HELP IMPROVE YOUR PROGNOSIS. LEARN MORE.
Heather Von St. James – Mesothelioma Survivor
Watch Heather’s Story
Heather Von St. James is a 12-year pleural mesothelioma survivor who has become a spokeswoman for mesothelioma awareness and a proponent of banning asbestos.

She also works with newly diagnosed mesothelioma patients as a mentor and advocate, helping them understand their treatment and legal options.

Heather offers valuable insights into her successful treatment approach with Dr. David Sugarbaker. She has a unique perspective on life after surviving a mesothelioma diagnosis and enjoys sharing her story. Click here to connect with Heather.

Resources for Mesothelioma Patients and Their Families
Request a Free Mesothelioma Treatment Guide
Connect with Top Mesothelioma Doctors
Locate the Nearest Comprehensive Cancer Center
Sign up for Our Mesothelioma Treatment Alert
Speak with a 12-Year Mesothelioma Survivor
Financial Assistance Available to Help with Treatment Costs
Types of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is most commonly classified by the location in the body where it develops. Specifically, the cancer forms in the lining of certain organs or spaces within the body, known as the mesothelium. Mesothelioma typically develops in one of three specific areas.

Pleural Mesothelioma
LUNGS
The most common type, pleural mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers.

MORE
Peritoneal Mesothelioma
ABDOMEN
Inhaled or swallowed asbestos fibers can become trapped in the lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum).

MORE
Pericardial Mesothelioma
HEART
In rare cases, asbestos fibers can get lodged in the pericardium, the lining around the heart cavity.

MORE
Diagnosing Mesothelioma Symptoms
Mesothelioma symptoms can take 20 – 50 years to appear after the first exposure to asbestos. The signs of mesothelioma often look like those of other diseases, which can lead to misdiagnosis. When someone exhibits mesothelioma symptoms, doctors perform a variety of tests to rule out other diseases. It normally takes weeks or months for doctors to arrive at an accurate mesothelioma diagnosis.

Common Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Trouble breathing or chest pain.
Effusion (fluid buildup) in the lungs or abdomen.
Anemia (especially in women).
Nausea / vomiting.
Loss of weight.
Upon diagnosis, the doctor will categorize the disease into one of four stages. While there are several staging systems, the TNM System — which stands for tumor, lymph nodes, and metastasis — is the most commonly used.

Four Stages of Mesothelioma
STAGE
1
The mesothelioma tumor is located in only one area and has not spread to other parts of the body.

STAGE
2
A large tumor may have progressed to nearby areas and/or the lymph nodes, but has not gone on any further.

STAGE
3
Tumors have typically spread beyond the local area to several nearby locations and the lymph nodes.

STAGE
4
The tumors have spread into multiple areas and throughout the lymphatic system, invading other organs throughout the body.

Typically, Stage 1 and Stage 2 mesothelioma can be treated effectively with surgery and other forms of therapy. However, Stage 3 and Stage 4 mesothelioma are often treated palliatively.

FREE 2018 MESOTHELIOMA GUIDE AND BOOKS
Treating Mesothelioma
Treatment for mesothelioma is similar to other types of cancer. The most common treatments are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Newer treatments are being studied as part of clinical trials and may be available for some patients who do not respond to conventional therapies.

In some cases, treatment can improve a patient’s prognosis, extending his/her life significantly. Treatment can also be used palliatively to reduce pain and discomfort caused by the symptoms of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Doctors
Mesothelioma Doctors
Finding a mesothelioma doctor and creating a custom treatment plan based on your diagnosis is the most important decision you can make to improve prognosis. Browse our catalog of top mesothelioma doctors around the country.

Mesothelioma Cancer Centers
Mesothelioma Cancer Clinics
Mesothelioma clinics and cancer centers offer patients a way to get the most comprehensive care, using the latest technology and techniques available. Locate the best mesothelioma clinics near you.



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