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Torrance student's fight to attend prom despite chronic kidney disease

May 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's that time of year when high school seniors are looking forward to prom and graduation.

One local senior is looking forward to them even more than most. A chronic disease has sent her to the hospital several times and she's had to be home-schooled.

Kortni Mizuno has been home schooled by a Torrance Unified School District teacher since almost the beginning of her senior year. If the 17-year-old had it her way she'd be taking class everyday at North High School alongside her friends, where she played varsity soccer since freshman year.

But she's been forced to stay home since last year when a sudden excruciating pain changed her life.

"It came out of nowhere," said Mizuno. "And it would wake me up out of my sleep at 2 a.m. and we'd have to rush to the E.R."

Kortni Mizuno has since been in and out of the hospital. Her longest stay was four months. She says she's been diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease and doctors have told her there aren't many options for treatment.

Chemotherapy and dialysis would be too damaging to her system, so she spends her days at home waiting for the next bout of pain that will land her in the hospital.

"She spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve in the hospital," said her mother, Colleen Mizuno.

Throughout her ordeal, Colleen says her daughter's focus has been on getting well enough to graduate and attend prom with her class. That meant keeping up with her school work even while she was in the hospital.

"I'm watching her literally get sick," said Colleen Mizuno. "She's getting sick but she's writing in between and doing what she had to do in the hospital."

The hard work paid off. Kortni Mizuno is on track to graduate with her class. But the burden of medical bills has drained her mother's finances and they can't afford to pay for graduation and prom.

"I can't even get her a prom dress right now, buy her prom bids," said Colleen Mizuno. "Even ordering graduation announcements for her I had to borrow the money. But I have to pay it back as soon as possible and I don't know how I'm going to do that."

They're taking it one day at a time, hoping the finances will work themselves out and when prom night comes around, she will be well enough to attend.

"I am sick and I have missed a lot of school and a lot of activities," said Kortni Mizuno. "I don't want to miss this."

If you would like to help the Mizuno family, call (310) 819-8056.

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