Nikki’s Notebook: Students Support Classmate After Surgery

Masks Worn to Show Support for Kiarra

For one Duluth middle school student, healing comes in the form of support from fellow students and teachers.

Seventh grader Kiarra Dixon just finished her first full week back at Lincoln Park Middle School, returning to class with something new, and also a familiar reminder of how far she has come.

“They let me keep my heart after the transplant, so I put my heart in a box,” said Dixon.

She’s planning to cremate it and create a necklace, to remember her journey with Cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that put her at risk for heart failure at a young age.

Dixon received the call that she would be getting a transplant in 2016.

“I got my call way earlier than expected,” said Dixon. “It was terrifying I didn’t want to go.”

When she returned to school she had to wear a mask due medication that weakens her immune system so her body does not reject the new heart.

“I started getting teased for my mask,” said Dixon.

Understanding and support came from an unexpected place, new masks worn by other students.

“They had “4 Kiarra” written on them, it was really nice,” said Dixon.

Dozens of students started wearing masks of their own to prove to Kiarra she wasn’t alone.

“It was the best day ever,” said Dixon. “There were people I didn’t even know wearing masks.”

It’s an act that Kiarra says is helping to mend a broken heart.

“It’s really important, when you’ve been through so much you want everyone there for you,” said Dixon.

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