Honored Kid

Macie Ann McCloud

Macie Ann McCloud Kid Photo


Raleigh, NC, US


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

Date of Diagnosis

April 2005



Treated At

UNC Children's Hospital

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My Story

Our Little Macie Looking through the obituaries every day always seemed like something my parents or grandparents did. I never noticed who those countless faces were, their surviving family members, or what they meant to their friends and community. But when you have to write an obituary for your own child, everything changes. Macie Ann McCloud was born on October 1st, 2004 in Raleigh, North Carolina. She was a seemingly healthy baby with chubby thighs, shiny eyes and a smile that could light up a room. A book I read about babies’ personalities categorized Macie as an “Angel Baby.” And she was. Little did we know that her sweet, laid back demeanor would serve her and us well once she began the battle to save her life. In April of 2005 at Macie’s six month check-up, the pediatrician didn’t like the look of some bruises on Macie’s belly. A simple blood test sent us straight to the emergency room at the North Carolina Children’s Hospital at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where we spent most of the next four months. Doctors at this Children’s Oncology Group hospital diagnosed our precious baby girl with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Our world stopped. No one can ever prepare a parent to hear the words, “Your child has cancer.” Macie’s odds? 50/50 at best. To describe what each day was like in the hospital with Macie is numbing. It meant watching her undergo spinal taps, surgery, endless blood transfusions, fevers, countless days of 12 hour infusions of chemotherapy and frightening hours in the pediatric intensive care unit. The course of treatment called for six rounds of extremely strong chemotherapy, all in patient. During the first round, Macie was quarantined in our hospital room for five weeks. We finally got to go home on Mother’s Day 2005. We were able to stay home for three weeks with Macie before returning to the hospital for her second round of chemotherapy. This was to be our reality, a reality I never understood until our daughter was diagnosed. On August 5, 2005, Macie became a real angel. Her tiny body could no longer withstand the horrible side effects and infection as a result of the chemotherapy. The emptiness and devastation we feel will never go away. We miss Macie every second of every day, to the depths of our souls. As we walk this journey without our beloved Macie, we now know what we must do. She will not be forgotten. Her life had and has meaning. We will not let her courage and spirit be a distant memory. One way we are doing this is through advocacy work on behalf of childhood cancer issues. In 2006, we got involved with the St. Baldricks’ Foundation. Attending our first head shaving event was the most energizing, amazing thing to witness. Friends and strangers went bald in memory of our Macie and the thousands of other children who face cancer. Even Macie’s oncologist shaved his head and raised a significant amount of money for pediatric cancer research. We must be a voice for these children who battle odds that would make most adults crumble. Tremendous strides have been made in finding cures for childhood cancers but there’s still so much more to be done. I now have a new legion of friends who all have that mission in mind. Childhood cancer cannot and should not fly under the radar anymore. Most people don’t realize that cancer is the number one disease killer of children in the United States; more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis and congenital anomalies combined. Yet research to find better treatments and cures for children’s cancers is terribly underfunded. For this reason, my family and I vow to support groups like the St. Baldrick’s Foundation who are a voice for kids like our little Macie. Although Macie was only with us for ten, short months, she taught us a lifetime of lessons. Help these children grow up, help them experience what life has to offer. One of Macie’s favorite songs was a tune I made up when she was a newborn. I would sing it to her as I rocked her to sleep. I also sang it to her when she was hospitalized, getting poked with needles, having CT scans, spinal taps, fevers and the myriad of other procedures she endured. The Macie Song: M is for marvelous A is for awesome C is for cutie I love you E is for excellent, exceptional little baby, how we love our Macie, yes we do.

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