ASHLAND, Ohio (WJW) — Born with a rare genetic condition, Megan Hess has defied conventional medical wisdom for the past 28 years.
“She wasn’t expected to live past one year old and then they said ‘Well, she’ll never make it past puberty.’ And now she’s 28 years old, so she’s in it for the long haul,” said her mother, Tresa Hess.
Unable to speak, Megan has used a rattle to communicate and the toy has also provided comfort.
“She doesn’t sleep well at night, so when she needs attention or she needs care at night, she wakes us up by hitting that rattle on her door or on her floor,” said her mother.
But, after 22 years of wear and tear, the rattle is falling apart, and when Megan’s parents could not find a suitable replacement for the discontinued model, her dad issued a challenge on Facebook.
Greg Hess told Fox 8, “If anybody can find one of these, we’re willing to pay for it, and we were really surprised how many people did share it and how many people got involved with the search.”
One of the Hess’ neighbors in the rolling hills of Ashland County accepted the challenge of finding Megan a new rattle as a very personal mission.
“When you see her, you’ve got to love her. I mean that’s just the way it is,” said Toby McClure.
Tthe 63-year-old says he started with a Google search on the brand name “Kiddicraft,” an English toy company that was later purchased by Fisher-Price Toys. McClure was then contacted by Charles Saunter, a longtime toymaker in Europe, who eventually found the same rattle on a French auction website and purchased it for $36. Saunter then shipped it to the U.S. and refused to be reimbursed.
Toby McClure told Fox 8, “There had to be one somewhere and I just didn’t think it was going to take half a trip around the world to get here but it was, it was awesome.”
And because of human kindness linked by the World Wide Web, Megan Hess has a new rattle.
“Oh I cried, anybody that helps my daughter makes me cry,” said Tresa Hess.
According to Toby McClure, “it renews your faith in humanity I guess, you know there’s people that can do this if they just do it.”