Macie Hagel

Macie Hagel, right, and her sister, Brianna, at the Chiari Institute in Great Neck, N.Y., where Macie, 14, was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation of the Brain 1.

Photo provided by the Hagel family

Fourteen-year-old Macie Hagel, of Galloway Township, lived with a medical mystery for three years.

In January, she finally got an answer to what was causing her seizures, headaches and swings in temperature and blood pressure. It was a little-known condition called Chiari Malformation of the Brain 1, which results from the bottom part of the brain descending out of the skull and putting pressure on the spinal cord.

Hagel and her mom, Kelly Hagel, had gone to a variety of doctors and hospitals.

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“They continued to tell me I was suffering from anxiety, and that I was an attention-seeking child,” Macie said. Other children she’s met who have Chiari had similar experiences before diagnosis, she said.

“I was so happy to find somebody who believed in me, could tell me it’s OK and could fix it,” she said.

Since getting the diagnosis at the Chiari Institute in Great Neck, N.Y., Macie has had two surgeries to relieve pressure on her brain and address spinal issues, and is now feeling much better, she said.

She wants to bring attention to Chiari, which runs in families. She will participate in Conquer Chiari: Walk Across America, which happens Saturday in all 50 states.

To support Macie’s efforts, visit and click on the walk under “Awareness.” Macie’s website is, named for the surgery that fused her skull to three vertebrae.

Scholarship recipients

Kelly Lupton, of Galloway Township, a standout softball pitcher and now a freshman at the University of North Carolina Greensboro; and Malia Mason, of Ventnor, a freshman at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, each have received a $250 scholarship from the New Jersey State Retired Police and Firemen’s Association Atlantic County Chapter, said chapter president Joe Rifice, of Brigantine.

Fashion show returns

Rosemary Rixon, of Ocean City, was the first chairwoman of the Shore Medical Center Auxiliary thrift shop fashion show 21 years ago. She will be at this year’s show at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Greate Bay Country Club, 901 Mays Landing Road in Somers Point, to benefit Shore Medical Center’s Surgical Pavilion and Campus Expansion.

Auxiliary supporters model clothing, accessories and jewelry that has been donated to the auxiliary’s thrift shops in Somers Point and Marmora, Upper Township. Tickets are $45. Call 609-653-4646.

Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:


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