My name is Debbie Browne. On February 29th, 2008, Leap Day, my daughter Kellie passed away at the age of 28. Kellie had a rare chromosomal condition called Turner syndrome. If you are like most people I would bet you’ve never heard of Turner syndrome.
Turner syndrome (TS) is a chromosomal condition only found in females. In the United States there are approximately 80,000 females living with TS. My daughter Kellie was diagnosed at the age of 5 in 1984. When I took Kellie to the doctor for a physical before starting kindergarten the doctor noticed Kellie was significantly below the growth percentile for girls her age. The doctor asked me if Kellie had ever had a chromosome test, she hadn’t, so right then and there they drew blood to test for a chromosomal deficiency. One week later I met with the doctor and was told that Kellie had Turner syndrome. As she proceeded to share the diagnosis I became overwhelmed with information regarding the symptoms Kellie would face for the rest of her life.
Unlike some other chromosomal conditions the symptoms of TS are not easy to spot. Some of the symptoms include: short in stature (under 5 feet in most cases), severe ear infections that lead to hearing loss, and the inability to reproduce.
After Kellie passed away the Lord put it on my heart to share our story by writing a book entitled “Loving a Leaping Butterfly”. It’s an odd name for a book, but it seemed fitting since Kellie always loved butterflies and passed away on a Leap Day. To my surprise the book became a best seller on Amazon.com and I started receiving emails from people touched by TS all over the world. It became clear to me that God was doing something much greater than I could have imagined, which led me to found an organization called Leaping Butterfly Ministry.
Leaping Butterfly Ministry (LBM) was established in 2012 with a focus on 3 main priorities. (1) raise awareness for TS, (2) raise money for research, and (3) support women and families touched by TS. In 2014 Leaping Butterfly Ministry hosted the inaugural Seeds of Faith Celebration to raise funds to meet these priorities. With only 4 Seeds of Faith Celebrations, over $300,000 has been raised to benefit the Turner syndrome community.
LBM started out as a hobby for me, but has now evolved into a nationally recognized 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization with over 25 volunteers. In 2017 the leadership team has set forth a vision to expand Leaping Butterfly Ministry, which will be announced on February 22, 2018 at the 5th annual Seeds of Faith Celebration in The Woodlands, Texas.
It is my sincere hope and prayer that you will join us for this exciting event with a sponsorship that will support LBM to make an impact for those within the TS community.
Founder – Leaping Butterfly Ministry