Written By Marlys Kinard
Photos By Magazine Photographer, Tori Steyne
The Wicker Family has lived in Newberry County their entire life. Brandon and Mandy Wicker were married 14 years ago and became a family of three, including Brandon’s son Micah Amick. Brandon was pursuing a career as a firefighter for the City of Newberry and Mandy had graduated from Piedmont Technical College, starting her career as a surgical technician at NCMH.
Shortly after their marriage, they found out they were expecting their first child, a little girl. During Mandy’s pregnancy, they were informed that their little girl had some abnormalities, but they wouldn’t know exactly all of them until birth.
On March 2, 2008, Brandon and Mandy welcomed Keely Brooke Wicker with all their love into their family. Immediately after birth, Keely had to go into surgery for a few life-threatening things. After getting Keely stable and few days and tests later, Brandon and Mandy knew they had a sick little girl, but they were ready to do anything for Keely. Mandy became a stay-at-home mom because Keely needed a lot of care and medical attention.
Keely’s diagnosis is a very rare chromosome 3 abnormality. She is one of only three people in the world documented with this genetic makeup. With this kind of diagnosis, doctors told Brandon and Mandy that they could not give them much information about this very rare condition.
Mandy has made it a point to educate herself as much as possible on Keely’s diagnoses so she can be her mother first, and advocate second, because Keely is non-verbal. She also enjoys educating anyone that wants to learn about Keely or any of her conditions.
Over the next few years, Keely was in and out of hospitals and had many surgeries and therapies to help her grow and get healthier. Also, during this time, Brandon fought and won his battle with leukemia.
Fast forward a few years, prayers, consultations, therapies, and lots of love later, Keely began to get better, stronger, healthier, and even a bit sassier. Keely loves people, loud laughter and music. Her smile with her dimples can make anyone’s day!
Since then, Brandon and Mandy have welcomed two more children, Paisley Ellyn and Braydon Derrick Wicker, into their family. Keely loves her sister and brother so much! She laughs at their shenanigans but keeps them in line by letting them know what toys belong to her.
As the days and years go by, there are new challenges that Keely continues to face. Recently, over the past year, she was diagnosed with epilepsy, which has brought on more battles of the unknown. But through every new challenge, diagnosis, surgery and therapy Keely has endured, she is always smiling and lighting up the world! As Mandy always says, “She’s our little miracle that continues to keep us on our toes!"
Nowadays, the Wickers continue to live one day at a time. Brandon is a Lieutenant at City of Newberry Fire Department. Mandy stays home with Keely, making sure to get her to all of her doctor appointments and therapies. Micah is in training to become a police officer. Paisley and Braydon are getting ready to go back to school. Keely is continuing daily to smile, keep her family on their toes, and show the world that she is a miracle!
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