Local girl scouts will be selling cookies from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today at Walmart in Portland for fellow scout Kya Staton, whose effort to sell 2,000 boxes has been slowed by myasthenia gravis. The auto-immune affliction causes serious muscle weakness, fatigue and a susceptibility to infections. (The Commercial Review/Jack Ronald)
Local girl scouts will be selling cookies from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today at Walmart in Portland for fellow scout Kya Staton, whose effort to sell 2,000 boxes has been slowed by myasthenia gravis. The auto-immune affliction causes serious muscle weakness, fatigue and a susceptibility to infections. (The Commercial Review/Jack Ronald)
She’ll get there with a little help from her sisters.
Last year, Kya Staton sold 1,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.
This year, her goal was 2,000.
But she ran into a few bumps in the road.
In many ways, Kya’s a typical 10-year-old. She’s a fourth grader at Bloomfield Elementary School. Her favorite subject is math. She’s a fan of the band Florida-Georgia Line. She wants to be a nurse when she grows up. And her favorite TV show is something called “Total Divas.”
But she’s anything but ordinary.
One morning early in 2012 she didn’t feel well when she woke up for school.
“She woke up sick,” recalls her mother, Faith Arbuckle of Portland. “She had slurred speech, and it went downhill from there.”
At first, her mother thought she was just dealing with a kid who didn’t want to go to school that day. “I was still doubting it,” she says. But doctors convinced her otherwise.
After five days at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Kya was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, an auto-immune affliction that causes serious muscle weakness, fatigue and a susceptibility to infections. The day was April 20, 2012, and nothing has been ordinary, typical or normal since.
The diagnosis forced Kya to cut back on a number of activities, but she was deeply involved in Girl Scouts and couldn’t let that go.
And that included being a big part of the annual cookie sales drive.
Tasha Allen, Jay County Girl Scouts cookie manager and scoutleader, says even while Kya was undergoing treatment at Riley, she continued to sell cookies.
“She had a cookie booth set up in her hospital room and sold to the nurses and the doctors in there,” says Allen.
With dedication like that, she sold 1,000 boxes and earned a trip to Splash Island in Plainfield.
And there were indications that this year would be easier.
“We went almost a year when everything was good,” says Kya’s mother. Then Kya had her tonsils and adenoids removed. The physical trauma of the surgery triggered a new round of problems with myasthenia gravis.
She’s been back to Riley on more than one occasion and has had a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line inserted in her left arm to make it easier to administer medication intravenously.
Kya’s faced those challenges with enough spirit that she’s been nominated as Riley’s Kid of the Year.
Lately, she’s only able to attend Melinda Lacy’s fourth grade classes at Bloomfield for a few hours each day. On bad days, her speech is slurred, she has trouble swallowing and she’s grouchy because of the fatigue. On good days, she gets to be herself again; but not every day is a good day.
And that’s made this year’s cookie sales difficult.
So far, Kya’s sold about 675 boxes of cookies, a record most scouts would be proud of. But it’s far from her goal of 2,000.
Her sisters hope to correct that today.
From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Girl Scouts from all over Jay County will be at both entrances of Walmart Supercenter selling cookies.
And every box they sell will be credited to their sister scout Kya.
The group effort is Allen’s idea.
“There will be different troops coming in and out every two hours to sell the cookies,” says Allen. “All girls participating will receive a sister-to-sister patch for helping out another sister Girl Scout.
All cookies sold this day will go towards Kya’s count.”
She adds, “If we sell everything we have, it will put her at 2,000.”
Kya will be at today’s event as best she can. She’s also selling Girl Scout cookies at a Kmart in Muncie. Earlier this week, she was selling in Dunkirk.
Her secret: “You ask everybody you know.”
The 2,000 sales goal carries a big reward, says Allen.
“If she sells the 2,000 boxes and earns the Cookie Getaway, she will get to take a trip to Savannah, Ga., go on a dolphin cruise, visit (Girl Scout founder) Juliette Gordon Low’s birthplace, go whitewater rafting, and rock hop in the Smokey Mountains.”
Allen says a portion of the proceeds from the day will go toward providing Kya some spending money for the trip to Georgia and a gasoline card for her mother Faith, who serves as scoutleader of Troop 3047.
“I want to make this day all for Kya and do everything possible to help,” says Allen.
Kya’s an only child. “I have to share my mom with a dog and a cat,” she says.
But not today.
Today she has her sisters.