Witness to a miracle | MomsCharlotte.com
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Witness to a miracle

Mitchell McElwain
- Photo taken on the day of Mitchell's baptism, just before diagnoses

It's every parent's worst fear, lived out by Charlotte mom, Meg McElwain, as her son, Mitchell, was diagnosed with pediatric cancer at just 3 months of age. Join Meg as she courageously shares her family's story in a eight-part guest blog series, Witness to a Miracle: Mitchell's fight against pediatric cancer.

Written by Meg McElwain

I am mother to Frank and Mitchell, two very special little boys. Each of them has a special story and a special place in my heart. My blog over the next few weeks will focus on my second child, Mitchell, and how his birth, baptism and life have changed our family in an extreme way in just two short years.


Part one: before diagnosis

My first pregnancy with Frank came just 6 months after my mother died. She was my best friend and, at the time, the most influential person in my life. She raised me and my sister as a single parent and was my inspiration and place to run in times of trouble. She died on February 27, 2007, just a week before her birthday on March 3.

I became pregnant with Mitchell in June 2011. At my first doctor appointment, I was given a due date of March 3, 2012.

March 3. I felt an immediate peace about my pregnancy and took this as a message from my mother that the baby I was carrying would be safe and protected.

As my pregnancy progressed, we learned I would have another c-section to deliver. The delivery was scheduled for February 27, 2012, exactly three years since my Mother died. An even more overwhelming feeling of peace and comfort came over me. It was as if God was saying to me through these special dates that He was with us and would protect us. I knew I should trust Him.

Mitchell Bays Turner was born a healthy baby at 8 pounds 5 ounces on February 27, 2013. As is tradition in my family, I planned his baptism soon after.

The date was set for June 17, and our family members made plans to travel to celebrate with us. The week leading up to Mitchell’s baptism was filled with great anticipation and hope for what his life would be like.

The day of his baptism was a beautiful. He was one of three children presented for baptism that morning. The opening hymn was one of my favorites, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.”

I held him in my arms for the rest of the service. This was his special moment and I wanted my hold my precious child close to me while we worshiped so he might feel the intense love and devotion to his life that was coming from my heart. After the service, Frank and I hosted a large crowd of friends and family for a luncheon.

As, I changed him out of his baptism gown, I noticed there were strange marks that look liked bruises on the front of both of his legs. I was very confused about why he would have bruises.

I studied them and finally decided that either he was cold or the baptism gown had some type of detergent on it that was causing a rash. Pat, his nanny, saw them too. We discussed it and decided to watch it until the next day.

Pat arrived at 8 a.m. the next day. I was already working at my desk and Mitchell was napping in his swing. She asked about the bruises. They were still there so she encouraged me to call the pediatrician.

I was determined not to be the over reactive mother that I had been with Frank. I had become a joke among my friends and I had promised myself that I would not be as reactive with my second child.

I was reluctant to make the call. I was busy at work. But, I called. I asked if I could bring Mitchell in to see our primary physician, Dr. Mike Giftos. I told her that Mitchell had strange bruises and I thought I might need an exam.

The nurse’s voice changed. She stopped and directed me to put him in the car immediately and come to the office. I felt the sense of urgency through the phone. Pat and I loaded Mitchell into the car and headed to Eastover Pediatrics.

I felt something serious was happening but had no idea that the events that were about to transpire would change our lives forever.

Read Part 2: Diagnosis here


alternate text Meg McElwain is wife to Frank Turner, III, and mother to 4 ½ year old Frank and 2 year old Mitchell. Lucy is her loyal Labrador retriever. Meg has owned and operated Magnolia Marketing in Charlotte for over a decade. She volunteers and serves the community. After, Mitchell was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at only 3 months old, Meg felt God calling her to use Mitchell’s fight to beat cancer and her journey as his mother to inspire and help others. Meg and Frank established the Mitchell Bays Turner Pediatric Fund within the Novant Health Foundation and raise money to support, educate and advocate for families facing challenging pediatric diagnosis.

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