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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – For most kids, summer break means vacations, trips to the pool, and hanging out with their friends. But for some, like New Market’s Sydney “Syd the Kid” Meenen, summer will likely be filled with trips to the doctor’s office, needle pokes and hospital stays.

Ever since Sydney was a little girl, she’s suffered from stomach pain. Her doctors said it was probably just acid reflux. But when she was 10, Sydney had a four-wheeler wreck, which put her in the hospital. Doctors quickly realized more was wrong with Sydney than injuries from the accident.

After further testing, doctors found that Sydney’s chronic pain was from pancreatitis. Genetic testing shows that Sydney has the Hereditary Pancreatitis SPINK-1 gene, which can cause pancreatitis. In 2017, doctors performed a 10-hour surgery called a Puewstow Procedure to drain an enlarged pancreatic duct. After the surgery, Sydney says she felt better for about a month. But then, her pain returned.

So her doctors performed another surgery, this one lasting 12 hours. Surgeons removed Sydney’s pancreas, gallbladder, appendix, spleen, and part of her stomach. The surgery left her in the ICU for a week, and she says she barely even knew where she was.

And even after all of that, Sydney is still suffering from chronic pain. While her doctors continue to search for answers, Sydney keeps a smile on her face. Part of the reason for that is because she knows she has something to look forward to, a trip to Disney World. Sydney has been granted her wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but the timing of the trip is up in the air because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, Sydney says she doesn’t see the point in moping around; instead, she says she plans to stay strong and keep on being “Syd the Kid.”

If you’d like to help make wishes come true for critically ill children in our community, visit the Make-A-Wish Alabama donation page here.