Teen with rare allergy faces more extensive medical mystery than first thought

The damage Kennedy's nickel allergy caused to the area in and around her mouth. (Source: Family)
The damage Kennedy's nickel allergy caused to the area in and around her mouth. (Source: Family)
Kennedy Odom with her braces on. (Source: Family)
Kennedy Odom with her braces on. (Source: Family)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It has been a year since Kennedy Odom shared her story about her medical mystery that stumped doctors for months.

Kennedy had blisters and lesions around and inside her mouth. She was in constant pain.

"Kennedy is my only child and just watching her suffer, you can't do anything to help your child," cried her mother Cicely Odom-Rose.

After missing months of school and visiting multiple doctors, she learned she was allergic to the metal in her mouth.

Kennedy had to have her braces removed.

Now 16 years old, she recently experience another round of breakouts after getting vaccinated for school.

After Kennedy had a reaction to the vaccination, doctors tested her again. They learned she is allergic to more than just nickel.

"Your child should be able to go to the doctor to get a vaccination," Odom-Rose said. "They [doctors] decided that it was nickel, stainless steel, and cobalt, all three forms of metal."

After recently attending a family gathering, she fell sick.

Doctor's determined she got sick because she drank from a metal soda can.

"That was just from a simple soda can," Odom-Rose said.

WMC Action News 5's Jerica Phillips talked to Kennedy about the toll this allergy has taken on her life.

"It was depressing, because I wanted to be in school," Kennedy said.

Her mom said they are managing the metal allergies one day at a time.

"We're learning what her limitations are, and it's the simple things that other parents take for gr anted," Odom-Rose said.

Her story has now been shared nationwide.

Later in May, she will be featured on Monsters Inside Me, a medical detective series.

"I'm going to be nervous a lot, and I think it's going to be cool," Kennedy said.

Despite the setbacks, the high school sophomore refuses to give up on her dreams.

"I am more than proud of her," Odom-Rose said. "I am astounded by her resilience."

"I think He [God] has a bigger plan for me in the future. I think I'm going to be a doctor," Kennedy said.

Kennedy's mom encourages everyone, especially parents, to question their doctors when things do not feel right.

"Be an advocate for your child, be an advocate for what you can't see," Odom-Rose said.

"What we were told by doctors at the Asthma Allergy Clinic is that this is the only second documented case in Shelby County," Kennedy's godmother, Tamara Irving, said.

Symptoms of nickel allergy include a rash or bumps on the skin, itching, redness, dry patches, and blisters in some severe cases.
Nickel-sensitive patients can get braces made of titanium, ceramic, or plastic.

Kennedy's family has spent more than $15,000 out of pocket for prescriptions and testing. The costs have strained the family budget, and scammers targeted people wanting to help Kennedy and her family.

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