Written by: Jeremy Baumhower
There is another little girl from our area that warrants your attention.
The irony of how I know this family and what she is battling… weirdly ties my 2014 together. It’s mind blowing.
Cassie Paige was a normal 12 year-old girl and sixth grader at Rossford Junior High. This past Thanksgiving, while we were spending time with our loved ones, getting ready to go shopping and or watching football– Cassie’s body unexpectedly started to shut down, creating a tremendous amount of pain and all seemingly out of nowhere.
She went from normal to dying in just a few short hours.
Her family has learned that Cassie had Microscopic Polyangitis causing her kidneys to completely fail. She has been hospitalized at C.S Mott Children’s hospital in Ann Arbor for the last 14 days.
I met Cassie’s family just a couple of months ago. Cassie’s mom, Stacey Paige is from Perrysburg Heights. Cassie’s cousins are some of the children that has been affected by the mismanagement of the Perrysburg Heights Community Center.
A couple months before meeting this family, I buried a childhood friend who’s story is hauntingly similar.
Aaron Mazur and I came from the same McGregor neighborhood. We’d been friends since attending Jefferson Junior High, becoming even closer friends through our Whitmer years. Eventually life got in the way, I became a dad in 1994 and he worked two jobs.
Five years later, I saw Aaron at the Village Inn and I knew right away he was not well. He looked a strange combination of yellow and gray, almost jaundice. He told me that he’d recently went to bed like any other normal night and when he woke up hours later, he was in tremendous pain. His liver had failed completely and he was just recovering from a liver transplant surgery.
His life was forever changed in one night.
My lifelong friend died on April 27th of this year, after undergoing his third liver transplant. Aaron was 38 years young, he left behind a wife and two small children.
Cassie’s family is now plagued with taking care of her siblings (13 & 6 years olds) while driving to-and-from Ann Arbor everyday. When Cassie is released from the hospital, she will have dialysis 3 times a week in Ann Arbor, for 3-4 hours each session. They are hoping she can get a kidney transplant in the next 3 to 6 months. You can imagine the incredible amount of financial strain and stress of her new medical problems, combined with managing two other sports-involved siblings…. plus it is the Holidays.
There is something you should know about these families from the Perrysburg Heights… they’re strong. In their darkest moments, they stand up tall and face everything head on. Life has never been easy for a person from this neighborhood, but they’d never let you know it. They are incredibly proud people and a close family.
Anticipating the enormous medical bills and to help offset the the cost of gas to and from Ann Arbor, a GoFundMe site has been created. I imagine it was not an easy decision to ask for help, but they need it.
Cassie has been fighting for her life since Thanksgiving and 50 miles from home. She’s tired of being sick, she’s tired of hospitals, she’s tired of not sleeping in her bed, but you could never see that on her face because she’s strong. A smile is her camouflage.
My friend Aaron was also a master at smiling to make the room feel at ease.
There is something to be said about a person who smiles bigger and brighter after life punches them.
This 12 year old girl and her family need your help.