Can’t Get Them Down
On any given day you can’t get Dylan (12) and Gavin (10) McDonald down. They’re two go-getters who are pretty much up for anything. Dylan is usually out on the sand or hardcourt playing volleyball and you can find Gavin out on the baseball field. When they’re not playing sports or playing Legos like most boys their ages, they’re outside enjoying nature — camping and exploring with their mom and dad.
It’s hard to believe anything could keep these active, happy-go-lucky boys down. But, not so long ago both boys were taken down and out by a debilitating chronic digestive condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE), which is caused by the buildup of eosinophils (allergy cells) in the digestive track.
As babies, both boys suffered incredible pain and had difficulty eating and gaining weight. By the age of two, they had endured multiple procedures — endoscopies, bronchoscopies, and colonoscopies. To this day, both Gavin and Dylan have to head to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital every three months to visit one of the pulmonary, neurology, ENT, gastroenterology, or allergy specialists that are required to see in order to monitor their chronic condition.
Children’s Charitable Fund Helps
At times over the years, paying for all the procedures and visits has taken its toll on Gavin and Dylan’s parents. Heidi McDonald, the boys’ mom, credits Chris Lah, and the Cincinnati Children’s Charitable Care Fund for helping alleviate some of that pressure. “The program helped with a couple of bills I never thought we’d be able to pay,” Heidi says. Adding, “I understand why people get down — get divorces, quit their jobs, and just feel overwhelmed — when these bills come in. But, the fund gave us hope when we needed it most.”
Not ones to stay down for long, Heidi, her husband, and boys rallied and focus on their health now. Both boys live very healthy lives thanks in part to an allergen-free (no dairy, seeds, nuts, and fish) diet and regular check-ups. “They actually have no idea how chronic they are,” Heidi says. “They are happy, fun, well-adjusted, and engaged. We do what we do. When we get procedures done, it’s what they have to do. They don’t know any other way of life. They don’t really know other kids don’t do this either.”
The Boys Help Bring The Music
Wanting to give back to the organization that helped them, both boys came into the Hear The Hope studio to help record this month’s song “I Get Up” written by Nashville singer/songwriter Heather LeAnn Mullins and Susan Simonson. The song is all about rising up from difficult times. And it’s the perfect song for two boys who have overcome so much in their short lives. Listen close and you’ll hear, Gavin and Dylan jamming on the drums during “I Get Up.”
Yes, they’re living proof that No matter what, they get up, up, up, up…