Ozarks Life: Moxie Garrison showing moxie in the face of a genetic disorder

A surgeon can help Moxie with a potentially life-saving surgery in London.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 5:39 AM CDT
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BOLIVAR, Mo. (KY3) - At Bolivar Intermediate School dinosaurs are walking again.

This past week, teachers were playing “Dinos at Dropoff” raising money to support a student. It’s one of the days in the district’s spirit week for 3rd grader, Moxie Garrison.

“I can’t believe that this is happening,” Moxie said.

Third graders should be focused on having fun and not on funding a potentially life-saving open-heart surgery.

“It’s amazing the resilience that she showed,” Moxie’s father, Don Garrison, said.

The 9-year-old is living up to the definition of her name, Moxie.

“(It means) stubborn resilience,” Don said, “which she’s got and it’s something she needs.”

At the age of one, the Garrisons learned Moxie has Marfan Syndrome.

“It’s hard,” Moxie’s mother, Marketa Garrison said. “It’s hard to have your child with a prognosis, where they will not get better. It’s (for) a lifetime.”

It’s a genetic disorder that weakens connective tissue throughout her body.

“She goes through things that adults would never dream of,” Moxie’s sister, Livvy Garrison, said. “But she takes it so well.”

Marfan Syndrome has led to many ailments for the 9-year-old, including a retinal detachment that blinded her right eye and heart problems.

“She was found to have an aneurysm that was close to the size of an adults when she was two,” Don said, “so that’s been monitored every six months.”

Doctors have told the Garrison’s Moxie’s aortic aneurysm has grown to the point now of no return. As it grew, the aortic wall became thinner and weaker. Doctors have told the family, she most likely will not survive a significant rupture of her aortic aneurysm.

“I like being unique,” Moxie told KY3′s Chad Plein.

“You like it,” Plein asked. “You embrace it?”

“Yes,” Moxie replied.

“That’s a good way to look at that,” Plein said.

“People who we don’t even know, they hear about Moxie and try to help us,” Marketa said. “(They) encourage (and) send prayers. It’s incredible. I mean, we are humbled.”

The Garrisons have found a surgeon and an open-heart surgery to help Moxie.

“How big is this surgery,” Plein asked.

“Very big,” Moxie replied. “It will keep me really safe.”

But it’s in London and the payment is expected in full in advance.

Funny what happens when a town steps up to support its neighbor.

“The community (is) like it should be,” Don said, “all of us together doing what we can for who’s in need at the time, whoever that is.

A dollar here and a check presentation there is helping Moxie dream about the future and what she wants to do when she grows up. She wants to be a paleontologist.

“I want to bring dinosaurs back to life,” Moxie said.

This past week at drop-off in Bolivar it appears she did just that with teachers dressed like dinosaurs.

Click here to visit Moxie’s Go Fund Me page and help her journey to London for her surgery.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com