TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Some kids at Mercy Children's fortunately do not have a long stay. They recover and move on with the next stage of growing up.
Others like eight-year-old Sage McGrady are all too familiar with the hospital. But that can also be a blessing.
McGrady, who has been coming to the hospital since she was three-months-old, is well-known and beloved by the staff.
"We can walk into the hospital, and you can hear them down the hall saying, 'There's my Sage!'" said Sage's mother, Angie McGrady.
Sage has an immune deficiency, requiring her to be in the hospital every three weeks, get hooked up to an IV treatment and stay for 10 to 12 hours at a time.
At just 8 months old, Sage and her family started spending the night. Then, doctors inserted a chest port, which they call "Buddy" so she can come during the day.
"The beginning, we started doing that because we started with peripheral IV's," Angie said. "And then unfortunately her veins failed, so now she has a chest port."
Those who meet Sage find it hard to believe the adversity she had faced. Sage has a contagious smile and loves to laugh. And when she goes into the hospital for treatment, Sage manages to put on a brave face.
But Sage admits treatments can be tough.
"Sometimes they'll get it in and it moves around because Buddy's moving and it hurts a lot," Sage said.
That's why the support from staff and physicians at St. Vincent Mercy Children's Hospital, mean so much to this family.
"It was tough," said Angie. "Being away from the family was very tough, because she was admitted a lot."
Times the family would want to be at home, they've been at Mercy Children's. She's spent holidays, and three of her eight birthdays there.
"They've always been there, you know. Definitely in our darkest hours," Angie said.
One of those darkest hours came just as Sage was turning two-years-old. Angie got a call from her husband, who said Sage had stopped breathing.
"He called me home and said something's wrong with Sage, she's unresponsive," said Sage's mom. "When she was admitted here at Mercy Children's ICU, we didn't think we were bringing her home. She had an infection that infected her entire body and her blood stream."
Money from the Children's Miracle Network stays local, and goes into things like the play center at Mercy Children's Hospital, that helps patients get through their treatments.
"Every time she comes in for treatment, or every time one of the kids is admitted, they have the playroom available to them, which is awesome. Because what kid wants to sit in a bed and watch TV all the time?"
Nurses bring in art supplies, and even buy her birthday presents.
"So it was like my last present," said Sage of her last birthday, spent in the hospital, "and I opened it and it was a Bitty Baby. The little things that make a big difference in Sage's life."
"I don't know where we'd be had we not had this awesome staff," Angie said. "They're family. There's no other way to explain it except they're family."