It was tragic enough when ten-year-old McKenzie Lewis suffered a near-death experience, but what happened next was even worse.
After a serious bike accident, the California girl was forced to undergo an emergency pancreatic surgery that would forever alter the course of her life, KXTV reports.
When McKenzie lost 80 percent of her pancreas, she became unable to digest food the way most people can.
While the incident left physical damage, it's nothing in comparison to the mental scars the child would soon receive.
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"They've said awful things to me, 'You should go die, kill yourself, you don't fit in cause you're too skinny,'" McKenzie said, explaining how fellow Mills Middle School students have been bullying her since she survived the accident, KTXL reports.
The verbal attacks eventually turned physical. In September, McKenzie was hospitalized for several days after a student elbowed her in the stomach.
Her father, Brent, believes this was intentional, given that it was the same area where she had surgery.
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However, a spokesman for the Rancho Cordova school district said nobody had been punished for the attack because there wasn't enough evidence.
Because of that, she was released from the safe haven of the hospital, back into danger.
After another student hit her in the face in October, Brent had enough. Both parents were forced to pull their child out of the school in order to keep her safe.
"In the second, most recent incident, another student was disciplined in connection with that matter," the school district spokesman said in response to the October attack. "Our schools will also continue their ongoing work with students, staff and families to foster positive learning environments."
Despite all of the trauma, however, McKenzie has kept a good attitude.
"I'm getting a lot of support," McKenzie said. "I wouldn't have made it without family or people supporting me."
"Later in life they'll be isolated because nobody wants to be around them because they're mean," she said of her bullies, while explaining how they will actually be the ones who will be hurt in the long-run.
The Lewis family hopes that by sharing their experiences, they can raise awareness of how serious a problem bullying is.
"You know these kids need help, not punishment and discipline," Brent said.