Macie one-step closer to meeting her new best friend
A LOT can change in a year and then again some things never change.
Macie Atherton-Andrews still has the hundred-watt smile that brightens the entire room. She's toddling about, pushing her sister in a toy car and giggling - you'd never know she was battling a long list of health challenges.
In fact, today the two-year-old lies in a hospital bed in Townsville, recovering from a surgery that will replace the feeding tube in her stomach that has caused an infection and prevented her from eating the past couple of days.
But this stay in hospital is just a blip in Macie's extensive medical history.
In August 24, 2017 Macie was born undiagnosed breech, which resulted in a traumatic birth that meant her tiny brain was deprived of oxygen for nearly half an hour. Subsequently she suffered myriad health conditions including epilepsy, cerebral palsy and hypoxia-related brain damage.
The Daily Mercury first met with Macie and her mum, Chloe Atherton, when an effort had commenced to raise funds for a service dog, from Smart Pups.
"On August 24 this year - Macie's birthday - we were able to announce we had reached our goal of $20,000, which allowed us to secure a spot on the wait list for Macie's own service dog," Ms Atherton said.
"We received quite a large donation from the Freemasons, nearly $10,000, and in the end it pushed us $3000 over our goal. We were able to donate that money to another child who is raising money for a dog."
Macie is now about four months into a 12-14 month wait for her service dog.
"The Mackay community has been so generous with their support, from small to large donations, it's been just amazing.
Macie's dog will be able to help monitor her seizures, assist her with her physical challenges related to cerebral palsy and be a source of support and comfort.
"The dog is going to have a massive impact on Macie's quality of life and provide her the independence to eventually attend kindy."
Until then they wait, in hopes the dog will arrive by Macie's third birthday this year.
"She's such a happy kid and that makes this journey so much easier," Ms Atherton said, "We just take each day as it comes and celebrate every single milestone, regardless of how small it is."
Follow Macie's journey visit Macie's Journey #determination on Facebook.