Column: Curran’s recovery, spirit something else

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on Jan. 7, 2011

The Mackenzie Curran series we’re featuring in sports this week is the stuff of inspiration.

Curran, 17, a senior at Kaneland High School, is recovering from an arteriovenous malfunction in her brain that was discovered after her father found her unconscious in her room in March.

She had to have emergency surgery and was placed in a medical-induced coma for four days. After waking, her right side was extremely weak, and she has had to relearn basic speech and motor skills since then.

But despite the daunting task in front of her, Curran has fought back, and she continues to fight to improve herself with each day. Photo editor Sandy Bressner has done a terrific job documenting Curran’s struggles and journey. After reading yesterday’s introduction to the series – part two is today and part three will be in our sports section on Saturday – I must admit I feel sheepish about some of the things I’ve complained about recently.

For instance, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to drop soft drinks – and by extension, the caffeine that comes with them. The sudden drop of caffeine has led to headaches for me – something I’ve annoyingly complained about to anyone who has been willing – or unwilling, in some cases – to listen.

An Advil or two relieves my problem. The lack-of-caffeine headaches will go away soon enough. I have nothing to complain about.

Curran, on the other hand, still struggles to lift both arms above her head. But she lifts her arms above her head anyway, as much as a struggle as it might be. And from all I’ve read about her, it doesn’t seem like she does a ton of complaining.

Needless to say, I’ll think twice before I complain about my next headache.

The human spirit is amazing, and sometimes it takes reading about someone like Curran to remind us of that.

Joe Grace is the editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at or call him at 630-845-5368.


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