A team of professionals came together to make sure the academic year was extra special and extra safe for 7-year-old Natalie Livengood.

Lauren and Kyle Livengood have lived in Kent since daughter Natalie was a baby. She was born with Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that varies in its manifestations. For first grader Natalie, her mother Lauren explained, skeletal abnormalities caused by SDS have affected her most.

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Basically since birth, Livengood said, her daughter has had many medical complications. Natalie was born with a very small rib cage, causing dependence on a trach ventilator and creating need for many rib and spine surgeries. In her life already, she has undergone almost 30 procedures. SDS has also caused pancreatic insufficiency, other gastrointestinal complications, immune deficiency and short stature.

Natalie is not one to let things slow her down much. Lauren said that, after surgeries, her daughter is all smiles at the hospital and gets right back to playing at home.

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