Students lined up on the Dionne Green to support a 1-year old with a rare skin disease on Feb. 22.
Sophomore student Alexandra Narvaez brought the movement to the University. The movement, RTS 1000 or “Rock the Socks 1000,” was created to bring awareness to Epidermolysis bullosa and to support Makenzie Cadmus, a 1-year old born with the disease.
Narvaez asked students to come to the Dionne Green to take a picture with socks on their hands. The socks were a symbol of support for Makenzie, who turned one on the 22nd.
“The turnout was mostly close friends. They came to the green to take a picture,” Narvaez said. “If we had more time a lot more people would come but the turnout was pretty nice, being that it was very last minute.”
But the RTS1000 movement was not just on campus. Support for Makenzie on her first birthday was shown nationwide.
Makenzie was born with Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa, a disease that six in one million babies are born with, Makenzie’s mother, Elizabeth Cadmus, said.
“Epidermolysis Bullosa is known as the worst disease you never heard of it. It’s extremely rare,” Cadmus said.
Makenzie was born with skin missing on her hands and legs which required bandages to protect. Makenzie was moved to the neonatal intensive care unit after birth, but her bandages kept falling off.
“One of the nurses suggested using socks as a way to retain the bandage on her body,” Cadmus said. “So that night we went out and we purchased a bunch of socks. And the next day we went through them and we found something that worked for her.”
Cadmus and her husband struggled taking care of Makenzie prior to the socks. They had to re-bandage her arms and legs two to three times a day. That process interfered with other aspects of her life. She was not eating, she was not gaining weight and she was on a lot skin medicine.
“The socks were sort of our first positive step in the right direction for learning to care for Makenzie,” Cadmus said.
The sock method inspired Makenzie’s father to write a poem about her, which then was written into a song.
“We contacted a family to see if he could put the poem into lyrics, and he did, and he kind of took it from there. He said, what about if we make this a video,” Cadmus said.
And so they did. Makenzie’s family collected pictures of people “rocking their socks,” and hosted an event at a local high school football stadium. Over 300 friends and family attended the event to support Makenzie and be a part of the video.
“That was our next step sort of in a positive direction and from there the movement kind of grew,” Cadmus said. “My husband said wouldn’t it be great if we did you know sort of a challenge or something for her birthday?”
That challenge was RTS 1000. The Cadmus family wanted to get 1000 posts on social media of people “rocking their socks” for Makenzie’s birthday. The goal was to support Makenzie and to raise awareness for her disease.
“I was like, how are we going to get a thousand posts! And he [Cadmus’s husband] said you know what I think we could do it,” Cadmus said. “So we came up with the idea.”
And they did do it. Not only did they get 1000 posts, they got over 2600 posts. Some prominent people even joined the movement such as the New York Islanders, the Beach Boys, Zack Evans, and CBS news.
“It’s the first time that I can remember in a very long time where the news feed on Facebook for Makenzie was all positive things,” Cadmus said. “It was a really nice positive way for us to cap off what was a very challenging and at times dark, dark year.”
To support Makenzie and her fight against EB, follow “Makenzie Cadmus” or “Rock the Socks” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
To view the video for EB, click the picture featured in this article, or click here.