Macey was born with a heart defect. As a baby she underwent many surgeries including numerous open-heart surgeries to repair her deformed valves. At age 11, she had two more open-heart surgeries. It was originally thought that the only way to keep Macey’s heart working was to perform open-heart surgeries every five to ten years throughout her life.
After only two years, Macey went into heart failure again. This time the issue was not her valves but her ventricle, the part of the heart that pumps oxygenated blood out and around the body. Macey was told she would need a heart transplant.
At the age of 13, Macey was placed on the transplant list and patiently waited six months for a heart. It was while she waited for her heart that she found out she qualified for a wish. During every hospital stay, treatment, and procedure Macey always imagined a peaceful escape with white sandy beaches and crystal-clear water. She knew that when she was healthy enough to travel, the perfect wish was to see the oasis she has always imagined.
“Her wish gave her something to hold on to throughout her battle,” said Macey’s mom.
The long-awaited day finally came, and Macey’s family received a call that she had a new heart waiting for her. Macey had to wait another year as her body recovered before she was medically cleared to travel. Finally, after 18 months of waiting Macey got her wish. The beach she chose was even better than she imagined. From the white sandy beaches to the turquoise water, this tropical paradise brought dream to reality.
During her wish, Macey could step right out of her bungalow onto the white sand beach. Every single day she snorkeled. Macey got to see sea turtles in a special cove, feed sting rays, and swim with sharks and a huge manta ray. One day she even held onto a nurse sharks fin as it swam, just like many do with a dolphin!
Every night Macey’s family would sit down for dinner together and talk about the highs and lows of that day and their adventures, but no one could ever think of a low! Macey’s mom said “The trip made Macey so brave by challenging everyone to do something scary each day.” She also said it gave them hope.
“We got to watch our daughter’s dream come true!” said Macey’s mom “When you find out your child has a critical illness, you feel something is being taken from them, their opportunities, wishes, dreams are gone. Then Make-A-Wish comes in and gives them back the ability to dream. You hold on to it.”