Marla Jane Kennedy
came into the world in the usual way in the fall of America’s bicentennial year. The youngest of three girls, she appeared healthy to her mother Tracy and me. Her mother noticed a difference as she developed and contributed it initially to colic. That changed when Marla started having seizures when she was about 4 ½ months old. The neurologist explained to Tracy that the seizures would create brain damage and the brain damage would exacerbate and create further seizures. Marla would never speak. She would require total care 24 hours a day.
As her Dad, I have spent a lot of time seeking to provide what Marla needs to get the most that she can from life. One of the frustrations Tracy and I have contended with is the availability of willing and competent healthcare services. Our family has become convinced that Marla is special, she will always be special. Her peculiar needs and those of others like her, should be celebrated. They have so much to teach the rest of us. In creating the TFS Kennedy Clinic our agency (Tennessee Family Solutions-TFS) is seeking to offer to others what we have been enjoying ourselves for 4-5 years, a specialty clinic operated for these folks we love. In offering primary care services to adults with developmental disabilities we hope to provide a benefit to other families while extending clinic operations to a 5 day a week schedule to benefit those in TFS residential programs. We have decided to name this special clinic after a special young lady, Marla Jane. She deserves this tribute, she is the most courageous person I know.
-Ralph Kennedy, CEO, Tennessee Family Solutions