Meet Za'Nyla Ernst

After a long night in the emergency room, 18-month-old Nyla lay asleep on her mother, Tammy's, shoulder. Having her first seizure only a few hours before, the family and physicians were unsure what was causing Nyla so much pain. 

Early the next morning, Arkansas Children’s Angel One Transport team was called and flew Nyla and Tammy to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Upon arrival, the ACH neurology team placed 24 tiny receivers or leads on Nyla’s head to monitor her brain activity. 

Over the next week, the Hendrix Family watched and waited for answers.

With a clear EEG, CT scan and brain activity, physicians recommended Nyla be monitored and placed on medication to control the seizures. However, Nyla’s seizures continued every few hours for up to 1 minute at a time. 

“Being at ACH was really comforting. They were trying everything they could to find out what was going on,” explains Tammy. “I spent time in the chapel and instead of asking ‘why Nyla Lord?’ I asked ‘Why not Nyla Lord?’ She's strong and I know she will she will get through this.”   

Five physicians monitored Nyla’s progress.  She was placed on 4-5 different medicines to see which one would regulate the seizures. Tammy would time each seizure, every time one would occur, making a note of when they occurred so a pattern could be traced.  

Nyla’s diagnosis still remains a medical mystery, but the seizures have become less frequent thanks to medication. Every sixth months, Nyla visits Dr. Tonya Balmakund in the ACH Clinic in Lowell for a checkup. With every growth spurt Nyla has, her seizure medication dosage is upped. Dr. Balmakund also checks on Nyla’s development making sure her speech and motor skills are on track. 

Nyla is now in preschool and is a thriving little girl. She has not experienced a seizure since February of 2016. With the opening of Arkansas Children’s Northwest, Nyla will be able to receive the care she needs, close to home. 

“With Nyla, she knows she has to go to ACH to see her seizure doctor but she’s not afraid,” says Tammy. “You never think you’ll be one of those families who would need this facility and ACH went above and beyond for our family providing comfort and love. She wasn’t just a patient or a number to them.”

As an Ambassador family this year, Nyla and Tammy look forward to spreading the word about Arkansas Children’s. 

“We take everything one day at a time with our Nyla Bug,” says Tammy. “My family and I can’t imagine a day without her!”

Donate in honor of Nyla by visiting her fundraising page here. Until no child needs us, we need you.

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