Sisters Battling Life Threatening Illnesses Get "Room" to Grow
A pair of sisters in Orleans County are finding it a little easier to fight life-threatening illnesses these days, thanks to a very big gift from some big-hearted friends. YNN's Geoff Redick shows us how it's giving the girls "room" to grow.
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The house on West Academy Street in Albion is whimsical, in a way.
Whimsical too, is the sound of young sisters Eowen and Maia Pate, who live here. But this house could have been much quieter.
"There's been many a night we thought we were going to lose them,” said Ondrea Pate, the girls’ mother.
eight-year-old Eowen and six-year-old Maia have both been battling life-threatening illnesses since birth.
“Eowen has a disease called MCAD. When I was at 20 weeks pregnant with Maia we had an ultrasound done, and they discovered a defect at the end of her spine,” explained Ondrea.
Eowen’s condition prevents her body from breaking down the fats in food for energy.
“So she has to have calories in her system to burn at all times, or it'll break down her brain cells. And it’s immediate,” said Ondrea.
Maia was born with a tumor on her spine, the size of her head. Removing it meant she no longer had a natural buttocks.
“She is in pain a lot. She has no tissue down there to pad the spine, so it's very difficult for her to sit,” said Ondrea.
In this home of seven, the two youngest family members shared a difficult early life, while also sharing a bedroom. It was special, but the girls were getting older.
“I've always had a heart for families that are going through a hard time," said Belinda Mullen, Billy's Gift Inc.
In stepped brand new charity, Billy’s Gift.
“He was diagnosed with leukemia just before his first birthday. Lost his battle at the age of five," Mullen told YNN.
Belinda Mullen understands what a family goes through when a child is ill.
"This organization's important because I wish I could have done some of those things for my own son,” said Mullen.
So, Mullen and her family gave Eowen and Maia, their own place: brand new remodeled bedrooms. The girls were surprised with them on Sunday.
“When we saw the doors, we were surprised. But it could open, so we just had to stand a little against it. They took pictures and when we came in, we were speechless. Yeah we were both speechless,” said Eowen and Maia Pate.
“That's all they've done is play in their rooms since they got them. They don’t watch TV; they don’t go in the pool,” said Ondrea.
“And all around my room there's little fairy stickers,” Maia said, while pointing them out.
"That's why we have Billy's Gift. Because it's because of him, of what he's given to us as a family, that we can use to be able to bless another family," said Belinda Mullen, Billy's Gift Inc.
In the end, it's love that makes this house, a home.