GALENA — This Christmas will be a happy one for many of us in spite of the less than favorable conditions of the world. Many people will struggle to have the type of Christmas they have become accustomed to enjoying, but the Tackett family, formerly of Galena is counting their blessings as the holiday approaches.

Little Meghan Tackett turned 20 months old last Monday in St. Louis Children’s Hospital where she was undergoing chemotherapy. Hospitals have been a big part of Meghan’s life in those 20 months. The little girl with the big smile has spent her short life battling a multitude of medical problems.

Meghan was born with spina bifida on April 20 of 2009. Spina bifida is a developmental birth defect caused by the incomplete closure of the embryonic neural tube. She spent ten days in the hospital at that time with her parents Tommy and Tiffany at her side.

In August of 2009 Meghan was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain, and was fitted with a shunt on August 13 of that year. She has since been diagnosed with bilateral club foot, bilateral hip dysplasia and a loss of feeling below her legs.

On Oct. 5 of this year, her condition was found to be septic, so she is scheduled to have a bone marrow transplant in January in St. Louis which will require her to be hospitalized for six months, but the Tacketts are planning to be home for Christmas, at least in the two bedroom apartment that is now their home in Joplin.

The family was forced to move from their Galena house when mold discovered there was found to be at toxic levels.

“Meghan tries to play and be normal, enjoying her time with her three siblings,” Tiffany said.

 Doctors say she might still be able to walk someday.

“We will be happy to have everybody home for the holidays,” Tiffany said. “Discipline in our house is virtually non existent, because we realize this could be the last time we can hug or kiss her.

“We’re very thankful for all the support we have received from family and friends and even the people of the area helping with the medical bills. The people of this area are very kind and generous. The medical bills are staggering, but we are taking it one day at a time and looking forward to a great Christmas in spite of the circumstances.”

The Tacketts are a strong family unit and are facing the future with unbelievable courage as little Meghan continues her battles with her various health problems.

Anyone wishing to help their Christmas be a little brighter can reach Tiffany by calling her cell phone at 417-396-3580.

A few prayers for little Meghan wouldn’t hurt either.