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Redmond family moving cross-country to save ‘micro preemie’ daughter’s life

“If you have a child, you know you'd do anything for your child."

REDMOND, Ore, (KTVZ) -- A Central Oregon family is packing up everything and moving to Ohio, to save their daughter's life.

They're selling everything they know to try and get their micro premature daughter into a special hospital.

Angie Bacuyani said there’s nothing she wouldn't do for her daughter.

"Because it's our baby girl,” Bacuyani said Friday. “If you have a child, you know you'd just do anything for your child."

Amelie Grace Bacuyani was born last Nov. 30, only 23 weeks into gestation -- and about 17 weeks early.

At  the time of her birth, Amelie weighed only 1 pound and 4 ounces. 

A micro preemie is a baby born weighing less than 1 pound, 12 ounces or before 26 weeks gestation. They often face long stays in the neonatal intensive care unit.

"When I first saw her, I was super-surprised how perfect she looked,” Bacuyani said, showing the tiniest of diapers -- and at first, even that was too big, so they'd have to fold it in half. 

Due to pregnancy complications early on, Amelie was given only a 10 percent chance of making it past 23 weeks of gestation.

After her birth, Amelie’s odds increased to 30 percent.

"I feel like every single miracle has just happened before my eyes,” Bacuyani said. 

Amelie has been defying the odds for over 90 days at St. Charles Bend.

She overcame a number of issues with her heart, brain, intestines, kidneys, eyes and many more.

Amelie's biggest challenge now is a chronic lung disease known as broncho-pulmonary dysplasia, or BPD.

The Bacuyani family's hope is to make it to Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

It's the only hospital in the country with a NICU specializing in BPD.

"We've been telling the kids like, 'It's just another family adventure,'” Bacuyani said.  “But Amalie is leading the way this time, and she wants to go to Ohio."

Babies with BPD have a survival rate of 80 percent.

Babies with that condition, when treated at Nationwide Hospital, have a survival rate of 99 percent.

Amelia’s three brothers have not been able to meet their sister yet, and have been staying at a Ronald McDonald House of Oregon.

"The biggest challenge is them not having them meet her yet,” Bacuyani said. “Feeling like my heart is torn between my kids at home and her in the hospital, and wanting to be at two places at once."

"Probably the first few weeks, he kept asking if she was going to die, and that was hard,” Bacuyani said. “I know he was thinking about that and worried about that."

One of the family's issues with the move is the Ronald McDonald House in Ohio is currently not accepting children due to COVID.

The Bacuyani family is struggling to find a new place to live in Ohio.

In addition, they are trying to pay the constantly increasing, $1.3 million medical bills.

To Bacuyani, it’s all worth it. 

"She's priceless,” Bacuyani said. “She means the world to me.”

The family is selling practically everything it owns in a yard sale, and is grateful for all the help it's already received.

"Surprised and just grateful for a community that cares about strangers like, they don't even know me and they've been making donations for my baby girl,” Bacuyani said. “And it's super. Just fills my heart, warms my heart." 

The family is having a big moving-away sale this weekend at 2793 NW Greenwood Avenue in Redmond.

They are also accepting donations on their GoFundMe page.

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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.


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