• In the Loop: Second opinion provides a double-take and points to hope

Mackenzie Boedicker who was diagnosed with amyloidosis, smiling and sitting outside on stairs holding a sign that says Mackenzie's MissionWhen Mackenzie Boedicker was diagnosed with amyloidosis, she knew nothing about the disease. That's changed, and she's using her new knowledge to raise awareness and funds to support research into treatments and a cure.

Mackenzie Boedicker has gotten used to the double-takes. She's young, female — and bald. It's not what most people expect. "You cannot go anywhere without getting stared at," she says.

The reason she's bald also defies expectations. At just 23, Mackenzie was diagnosed with amyloidosis. It's a rare disease, and one that normally affects people nearing retirement. Mackenzie was a senior at Northeastern University in Boston when she was diagnosed. "I was terrified," Mackenzie tells us of receiving the news. "I questioned my future." But today, thanks to her care team at Mayo Clinic, she's once again looking ahead.

Mackenzie's medical odyssey began when she noticed a lump in her throat. "I went to see an ENT specialist, and she told me it was just seasonal allergies," Mackenzie says. Six months later, the lump was even larger. She decided to get a second opinion, which led to a biopsy and eventually, a diagnosis.

Stunned by the diagnosis, Mackenzie and her family began researching treatment options. An aunt had heard about Mayo's expertise in treating amyloidosis, and emailed Morie Gertz, M.D., a hematologist/oncologist who treats patients with the disease. "Within five minutes, Dr. Gertz had emailed her back," Mackenzie tells us. "That was pretty motivating." She and her family decided to head to Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus for treatment. Read the rest of Mackenzie's story.
This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog. 

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