Girl endures more than 250 fractures

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GOWER, Mo. --  A broken bone or two may be all that most of us will have in a lifetime.  Yet one 11-year-old girl has already had at least 250 fractures.

It's story time at East Buchanan Elementary, and no one in the class has a more incredible life story than Karli Miller. Even before she was born, her bones were breaking.

"They realized she had broken both of her legs -- her femurs, thigh bones -- two weeks before she was born," said Cristy Miller, mother. "There was four weeks' healing growth and she was two weeks old."

Karli was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a brittle bone disease.  Even simple movement can cause a bone to snap. Her  mother says Karli's endured at least 250 fractures, 50 surgeries and immeasurable pain.

"Especially whenever it like rains, my legs get like achy and stuff.  I'm like ahhh...," said Karli.

Last year, Karli fell out of her old manual wheelchair and broke her arm.

"And it went like that," said Karli as she pointed to her forearm. "I had like two elbows."

Angie Thompson has been Karli's paraprofessional since pre-school.

"She can break and still just get up and go on," said Thompson about Karli.

Thompson rallied community groups in Gower to donate thousands toward the purchase of a motorized wheelchair which is safer for Karli.

But that's not the end of her needs. Karli has to leave her new wheelchair at school every day and transfer to the manual one because the family vehicle won't hold the new one.  Nor have adaptations been made at home.

So a pancake supper is planned for Sunday, December 15.  It will be held in the school cafeteria from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The goal? To finish paying for the wheelchair and start raising money for a new vehicle and home adaptations.

"It just makes me glad to live in Gower, that's for sure," said Cristy Miller.

Karli said she's thankful.

"I really wanted this. It's like a Christmas miracle," said Karli.

It's all for a girl who won't let broken bones break her spirit.

A fund has been established for Karli. Donations can be sent to the Karli Anne Miller Benefit, Bank of Gower, Gower, Missouri 64454. The bank's phone number is 816-424-6476.

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10 comments

  • Leslie

    My best friend’s son has OI and has endured multiple surgeries and has been in a full body cast twice in his short life of 4 yrs as well as 50 or so random breaks! He is a trooper and never stops moving but it is so awful to watch the struggles, physically, mentality, and financially, that this disease puts on a family!

  • Danielle Konze

    I go to school with Karli but she’s younger than me. I’m in the seventh grade. And she’s just amazing. How much stuff she’s been through… She’s just a blessing to Gower and East Buchanan. :)

  • Larissa Angiolelli

    I have the worst two types of OI, so I know how this goes. I am 22, and have been through some of the same things that Karli has been going through. It’s sad that it takes making a little girl’s dreams come true to raise awareness of this disease because it doesn’t kill quite as often as cancer, but I hope that everyone can pitch in and help Karli out. I hope you feel better soon miss Karli! Keep your head up hun! Trust me, life is going to be hard, but it will always be worth carrying on and fighting this disease! Please keep passing this around and raising awareness for OI! We need to find better treatments and hopefully a cure to the gene mutation that causes this disease!

    • samantha

      Actually, there isn’t 2 weeks that go by that I have not been told bad news of another snowflake becoming an angel. I have known of at least 4 since the beginning of December 2013……it is very sad. And there is so little known about this disease still, even though there have been tremendous achievements in technology and meds. Unfortunately, unless something can be done within the womb for the most severe types(2 & 3), the mortality rate will not go down anytime soon. Some are so severe that these babies don’t live more than a few days to 1 year due to respiratory failure, etc… :(

  • samantha

    It’s nice to see this rare disease acknowledged. My daughter has Type 3 Severe and we are in the same boat. We are in the process of trying to get a motorized wheelchair for our daughter at school, which she will also need to leave there as we have no way of transporting it and our home barely fits her manual small wheelchair. It is nice to see a community come together to help out :)

  • samantha

    This sounds very similiar to what we are going through right now with our daughter (Type 3 Severe OI) Where our insurance is covering the power wheelchair, ours too will need to stay at the school until it is out, when the bus company will deliver to our home for us until school starts again in August. Our home is not big enough for her to use it inside, but we plan to put it to use for outdoor activities. Unfortunately we would probably not need this wheelchair if insurance would cover a walker or gait trainer, so she could learn to stand and walk. Luckily for us, I am talking with some vendors who may be willing to help us out :)