Donations have poured in over the past week to an online fundraiser in support of Brinley Hutson, an Overland Park girl whose leg was recently amputated following a rare bacterial infection.
At 12 years old, Hutson has been battling an unpredictable and aggressive bacterial infection for the past few weeks, say those who know her.
The infection was threatening her life as doctors at Children’s Mercy worked to prevent it from spreading. She has had at least nine surgeries and could have more. Doctors amputated her left leg on May 30.
The GoFundMe campaign organized by family friend Brandi England raised $43,000 in one day after she set it up May 31.
As of Tuesday, more than 550 people had donated a total of $76,900. Besides that, the whole community around Brinley — including friends, family and staff at her elementary school — has been supportive and encouraging as the medical team at Children’s Mercy helps her recover.
“Honestly, the generosity and the number of people reaching out has been overwhelming,” England said. “Right now, her mom’s unable to reach out and say ‘thank you’ to people. I know she wants to, but it’s just impossible right now. And even me managing the GoFundMe, the emails I’m getting and people reaching out wanting to help in other ways, it is unreal.”
“I know that her family is so very grateful to everybody who’s praying, who’s donating and who’s finding resources to help Brinley after this,” said Brandi England, a family friend who teaches at Brinley Hutson’s old elementary school. Photo courtesy Brandi England.
England, who is a teacher at Bentwood Elementary in the Olathe School District where Hutson attended, said Hutson is doing much better as of late.
The family is hopeful that doctors have the infection under control now.
“I know that her family is so very grateful to everybody who’s praying, who’s donating and who’s finding resources to help Brinley after this,” England said. “They’re a private family, but this is such a rare thing, just a unique situation. You don’t hear of something like this often, and I think even the medical team that’s working on her, they’re still trying to think outside the box to figure out how to best help Brinley.”
Cause of the infection?
Doctors are also working to figure out the cause of the infection. The family has pieced together at least one potential source.
Hutson got injured and had a deep bruise on her leg during a soccer tournament in the beginning of May. The fever and related symptoms from the infection began a few weeks later.
England said she has full faith that Hutson — a bubbly, encouraging friend and young student-athlete who cares for others — will recover.
Hutson (center) is an active student-athlete who her former teacher describes as bubbly, encouraging and fearless. Now that the infection appears to have stopped spreading, the family is hopeful for a recovery. Photo courtesy Brandi England.
“This is a speed bump for Brin, but it’s not a stop sign,” England said. “Yes, it’s a defining moment, but this isn’t who she is. She’s so much more, and this community loves her and is going to be here for her regardless, no matter what’s going on. We have her back.”
The funds from the GoFundMe campaign will be used to help pay for Hutson’s medical bills, as well as recovery efforts.
“I think Brinley will surprise everybody on what she does,” England said. “Once she deals with the trauma and the emotional part, I think Brinley will still be able to do what she wants to do because she’s determined.
“I have all faith that Brinley is going to be able to do whatever Brinley wants to do because she’s just that kind of kid. She is a force to be reckoned with, and she always has been.”