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KLEW Community Heroes: Macy McCrae's 3,000 Mile Difference

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Through thick and thin, most people try to keep a positive outlook on life, no matter how difficult it is. The same is true for four-year-old Macy McCrae. In our latest installment of KLEW Community Heroes, you're about to see how an idea can make a difference that spans over 3,000 miles, and sometimes, heroes are more than just those who help.

"She's just like every other kid, really hyper, really outgoing, funny," says Ashley Egeland, Macy’s mom.

Macy looks like any other young kid. She loves to play with dollhouses and toys, and she loves to sing. But unlike most four year olds, next week, Macy and her family are going across the country to Boston. But this trip is no vacation.

"She's going to be having surgery. It's a discovery surgery. She has really dilated bowel, and that is their main concern," says Egeland.

When Macy came into the world, she was born with Gastroschisis. It's a birth defect where parts of the intestine are found outside the body. Macy's was protruding around 1-2 inches.

"Coming into parenthood is hard enough without having issues like this. It was just really scary," says her mom.

In her short life, she's had close to 20 surgeries. But the entire time, Macy has treated every moment as if everything is normal.

"She rolls with everything. I think she teaches us all a lesson every day, in being happy," says Gretchen McCrae, Macy’s aunt.

Gretchen and Macy are closer than your typical aunt and niece.

"I was able to take care of her, kind of be her babysitter for a few months, spend a lot of time with her. She's like my best buddy," says Gretchen.

But Gretchen has done more than just be a best buddy for Macy and Ashley. She's helped provide an easier road to Boston Children's Hospital.

"When we knew that Macy really needed to get to Boston, we knew that we needed to do something big, we needed to help."

Two weeks ago, Gretchen helped put together a benefit dinner and auction, with all proceeds going towards Macy's medical expenses and travel costs. Over 250 donations were made, and around $80,000 was brought in.

"Family helps family, and I just wanted her to not have to worry, and just be able to go to Boston, and get the treatment that Macy needed, and that be her main focus, and not worry about how we're going to pay the bills," Gretchen says.

"Even paying 20% of a hospital stay could be fifty to sixty thousand dollars. So it's going to help out a lot,” says Ashley.

On Friday May 11th, Macy will head into surgery in Boston.

"They are the number one in the world basically, for intestinal rehabilitation, and they specialize in short bowel syndrome, which is what she has,” her mom says.

The surgery is a discovery surgery, meaning Macy is going under the knife to see what the course of action is going forward.

"If everything goes well, we'll probably leave before June, and if everything goes well when we get home, we'll follow up in Seattle I think," adds Ashley.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Gretchen is Macy's hero for helping make her surgery in Boston possible. But for Gretchen, her hero is different.

"Macy is the hero. I just was the person that came up with the idea that started it," she says.

Macy's mom says Gastroschisis will have a lasting effect on her whole life, and this isn’t something that can be resolved by surgery. But it's not affecting Macy one bit. She's excited to start school in the fall, and get to learning.

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