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Macie’s Battle - Tougher than she should have to be at her age

Holly Beard, at left, and husband, Eric Beard of Grassy Creek, are supporting their daughter,
Macie, center, and doing all they can to help her in her battle with stage 4 Wilms’ tumors.

Originally published: Jan. 16, 2014
Last modified: Jan. 16, 2014

Heather Samudio

It’s hard for parents to see their children sick, sad or upset, and when a child is battling for their life, the pain can be unimaginable.

Holly and Eric Beard of Grassy Creek know exactly what it’s like and are doing everything they can to help their 3 1/2 old daughter, Macie Beard, fight Stage 4 Wilms’ Tumors.

Wilms’ tumors is a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children and is known as the most common cancer of the kidneys in children, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Macie’s battle began last year on Oct. 7, when she had a CT scan done in Boone to see if her pediatrician could find out why she was having “tummy troubles,” according to Holly.

“I knew something was going on, but I wasn’t prepared to hear that Macie had numerous tumors and it was cancer,” Holly said.

The family was sent to Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston Salem where Macie went through several hours of IVs, X-rays and waiting.

The next day, Macie’s team of doctors told them they were guessing it was neuroblastoma, but a biopsy could not be done until the following day.

It was a hard time for Holly and Eric because they couldn’t allow Macie to eat or drink anything until after the biopsy was done.

“Talk about feeling like it was child abuse, especially when she says, ‘But mommy, I just want one little sip of water,’” Holly said.

Following the biopsy and placement of a medi-port, Macie was released on Oct. 11. Less than a week later, the Beards were called in for an appointment on Oct. 17.

“We finally met with Dr. Kevin Buckley and he told us that she had Stage 4 Wilms’ tumors, which is easier to treat than neuroblastoma,” Holly said.

Macie was admitted to a room that day and received her first chemotherapy treatment.

Now, three months later, Macie has undergone 10 rounds of chemotherapy, surgery to remove the original tumor on her left kidney and removal of her left kidney.

“She will have radiation and more chemo after she gets over the surgery,” Holly said. “She will probably begin radiation next week.”

In regards to her prognosis, Holly said the doctors are obviously hoping for remission, but they just don’t know for sure.

“The biggest concern is the tumors on her liver,” Holly said. “They couldn’t remove them because it would do more harm than good.”

Holly said the doctors have done a biopsy to make sure the affected tissue is dead and to make sure the chemotherapy they are using is working.

On Tuesday, the family learned that Macie would need a minimum of 14 to 16 rounds of radiation, as well as more chemotherapy, although they weren’t sure how many more rounds of chemo would be needed.

Helping their daughter through this battle has been harder than they could’ve imagined. “We couldn’t get through this without the support from our family and friends,” Holly said.

“I have to be strong for her,” she said. “I would rather it be me any day than her. I’d take her place in a heartbeat.

“She is just so tough. She is tougher than any 3 year old should have to be and she never complains,” she said. “She has always been my miracle baby and this puts it in perspective.”

Holly said her husband works as a contractor with FedEx, while she is employed through Skyline.

“They have been so good to us,” she said of Skyline. “We’re blessed, and people have been so good to us, too. I could never repay everyone, but if they were in this situation, I would try my best.”

Holly said in times like this, “you do what you have to do. Whatever she needs is what we do. We just let God take control and take care of it. It is all in his hands. I’m blessed that God gave her to me.”

Holly said some days her faith in God is all that has kept her going. They are unsure what is coming down the road, but are relying on God and the prayers of family and friends.

The New River Fire Department and community are planning a benefit from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at Mountain View Elementary School to help the family. The benefit will feature a cornhole tournament, 50/50 drawing, cakewalk, silent bid auction, hot dogs and chips.

For more information about the event or to help, contact Eddie Lyons at (336) 977-3164 or Steve Farrington at (336) 977-9025.

T-shirts and long-sleeve T-shirts can be purchased for $10 or $15, respectively, by visiting Proceeds help Macie and her family. The T-shirts come in black or white and read “Wear Gold for Macie” and “Team Macie. For with God nothing will be impossible. Luke 1:37.”

Anyone who would like to help the family can make a donation at any First Citizens Bank to the Macie Beard Family Donation Account.

Individuals can also follow her journey on Facebook by searching for “Macie’s Battle.”

Macie’s grandparents are Steve and Anita Walls of Lansing and John and Lana Beard of Granite Falls.

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.