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Mackayla and Avery

Image Description: Photo showed Mackayla, who is wearing a blue top and glasses, holding her new baby, Avery. Avery is sleeping. She’s swaddled in a blanket that has pink and grey illustrations and is wearing a hair bow that matches.

Mackayla is fighting for her life while caring for her newborn baby. Through Together Rising, all of us—this community—provided the financial support that is allowing her to focus on what she needs to: her treatment and her little girl.

Mackayla was first diagnosed with laryngeal cancer while pregnant. Stage four. Her precious baby daughter, Avery, was born just five months ago. Over those five months, Mackayla has been traveling from Maine to Massachusetts for treatment. Her mom, Carrie, took an unpaid leave of absence from her job to travel with and help care for Mackayla and Avery. Together, Carrie and Mackayla have been driving back and forth, back and forth—eight hundred miles roundtrip.

In May, Mackayla endured surgery to remove her larynx. Her ability to speak has been significantly impacted. It may never be the same again.

While Mackayla has been in treatment, her fiancé, Raymond, has had to stay in Maine. We know the first several months after a new baby’s arrival can be both a huge adjustment period and a very special time for new parents. We cannot imagine how especially difficult it has been for this family to not only have Mackayla fighting for her life but be forced to be apart while she does.

On top of the cancer diagnosis and the radiation and the surgery and the travel and the new baby, the family also lost Raymond’s dad recently. Right before Avery was born.

When Raymond’s aunt, Missy, wrote to us, our hearts cracked wide open. She asked if Together Rising would support Mackayla and her family. We said of course we will—Together Rising exists to be a place to turn. Together, all of us lifted this young mom by sending her a grant to cover unpaid treatment costs, travel, diapers, formula, food, housing, and more. With our support, Mackayla is focusing not on bills but on her treatment and her baby girl.

Mackayla, thank you for allowing us to show up for you, for Carrie, for Missy, for Raymond, and for little Avery. To this wonderful community, thank you for continuing to trust deeply and invest wholeheartedly in us. Your support is what enables Together Rising to be a place where families like Mackayla’s can turn.