Mary Katherine O’Neal is only 11 but already in business and helping one of her closest friends at the same time.
Mary Kate designed bracelets through her own company called Serve Jewelry Company. She started making the bracelets in December and then launched her business in January. When she found out that her friend Marlee Kate Geohagan was going to have brain surgery because of epilepsy, she chose to make special bracelets in honor of epilepsy awareness.
“I wanted to do this for one of my closest friends because I know she’s been through so much epilepsy. My business name is Serve Jewelry and I wanted to serve. That follows with my business model God calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and I really felt called to help my friends,” said Mary Kate.
Mary Kate has made over 60 bracelets to date. She donated all proceeds to Marlee Kate’s family to help offset the cost of hotels, gas, food, and all hospital-related expenses.
“My daughter found out that her friend needed brain surgery because she has a drug-resistant form of epilepsy. MK made special wristbands and won over $500. She donated the proceeds to Marlee Kate, who is also going through MK to help her with her hospital stay,” mother Leigh-Anne O’Ferrell said.
Geohagan recently underwent his first brain surgery and his fifth procedure at Alabama Children’s Hospital.
“At the age of four months, Marlee Kate suffered her first major seizure and was flown to Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Florida. For eight years, neurologists tried to treat her with numerous drugs that failed Two years ago, Marlee’s parents transferred her to the Children’s of Alabama.With the help of exceptional doctors, Marlee was diagnosed with drug-resistant epilepsy.
O’Ferrell added that Marlee Kate is on multiple medications and still has seizures about four times an hour.
“Her seizures are atypical and include staring, confusion and no memory of lost time. Recent surgery has identified Marlee’s hot spots on her brain. She has one on her frontal lobe, which is connected to language, and one on his left temporal lobe, which is connected to memory. The right side of his brain is intact and you can ask him any math problem.
Doctors hope to do a second surgery called focal resection after Marlee’s brain heals. “The goal is to move the damaged part of his brain. This is Marlee’s best chance of living an independent life. Her current goal is to start encouraging competition again,” she said.
The community has shown great support for Marlee and her family.
“They have been overwhelmed with all the support they have received. She loves sharing her story and has even volunteered at the hospital to help researchers collect data regarding the effects of seizures on language. Marlee Kate was extremely touched by my daughter’s incredible act of kindness.
For more information or to contribute, contact Mary Kate via her Instagram at serve_jewelry or call Leigh-Anne O’Ferrell at 334-488-9514.