East Tenn. child undergoes rare Canadian surgery

Published: Nov. 16, 2017 at 4:18 PM EST
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Makady Hill's mother described her child as one who always finds missing items at the family home. Debra Hill also said Makady has a natural curiosity about the world, just like a treasure hunter or aspiring archaeologist.

"She has an incredible curiosity, and that has got her through," said Hill.

The Hill family has watched and waited for results from a rare surgery that Makady had in Toronto, Canada. The surgery, not done anywhere else in the world, attempted to attach new nerves to the 6-year-old's eye so they can function more normally.

Instrumental in getting her insurance company's approval for the surgery was her eye specialist in Knoxville, Dr. David Harris, Jr., who convinced insurance underwriters that the nerve surgery would be well worth the expense and would enhance Makady's life.

"When your eyes don't have the normal sensation nerves, they are more likely to get scarring, and get ulcers, and Makady's had all of these problems," explained Dr. Harris. He is also medical director of

and has been involved in multiple cornea replacement surgeries for Makady. His hope is that with the nerve surgery, she might only need one final cornea replacement.

East Tennessee Lions Clubs broadened their efforts to raise funds that covered all of the travel and lodging expenses for Makady, her mother and her older sister, Erin Ashe. The funds made it possible for the family members to travel for a week to

in Toronto, Canada, plus for a second week of recovery time before she could return to the United States. The family also thanked family, friends and community members for their support, especially teachers at Dogwood Elementary, where Makady attends, and Farragut High School, where Erin teaches, along with Lions Club members.

"We're gonna be looking forward to just staying with them every step of the way, watching Makady grow, and watching her, be able to see her world, as she goes through life," said Clare Crawford of North Knox Lions Club.

Makady's family said they are hopeful that the nerve surgery will work for her, stopping the deterioration of her eyes and improving her prospects for the future. He big sister, Erin said, "To know that after this she has the possibility of never losing her eyesight is truly amazing!"