A 12-year-old boy from Saskatchewan had a surprising and unprecedented reversal of a potentially life-threatening brain disorder, which surprised doctors and raised the faith of family and friends.
In an interview on May 26, Joe McCrea said he had just driven his son Joel from Winnipeg home to rural Saskatchewan, where an operation for the boy who was scheduled to take place the previous day had never taken place.
‘The doctors double – checked, checked three times, checked four times. It’s a miracle, ‘McCrea told The Epoch Times.
Joel suffered from an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a clutter of blood vessels in the brain that can disrupt blood flow and cause strokes or bleeding in the brain.
“It’s very rare, but he was unfortunately born with it,” McCrea explained. “With this disease, he has to do CT scans every six months, MRI angiograms just to see if there are arteries or entanglement of the vessels growing.”
When Joel was 8 years old, he collapsed at home after complaining that he was not feeling well. In 2018, after 25 days in a Saskatoon hospital, he underwent a successful operation in Winnipeg. He continued his regular scans until 2020, when the pandemic led to a rationing of scanning services. When the Grade 7 student went to school on October 1, he had no idea that another AVM had developed.
“He was playing around noon and he collapsed completely outside the school, and kids found him unconscious there,” McCrea said. The boy was rushed 200 kilometers further to Saskatoon Children’s Hospital.
‘He was unconscious for two weeks; they drained blood from his brain, ”McCrea recalls. Joel returned home after four weeks in hospital and delayed the necessary follow-up on his surgery in 2018 indefinitely.
‘Since October, I’ve been trying to get him to Winnipeg to have this important operation done, and to slow down, slow down. “I argued with the government, MLAs, you name it, and in the end I addressed the public,” McCrae said.
In February, he shared his story on the YouTube channels of Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson and Mark Friesen. The latter raised more than $ 11,000 on GoFundMe.com as McCrea considered moving to the St. Louis or Australia to go for surgery. However, nothing worked out.
Scans in Saskatoon in April confirmed that the AVM was there. Then an operation was postponed for Winnipeg later that month.
At the height of this frustration, Joel’s grandmother, Evelyn Chretien, spoke to her weekly prayer group about what was happening in her family.
Joe was very fierce. He was so upset because no one wanted to listen, and no one would get him an appointment, and that appointments were constantly canceled. And so we got together and prayed about it, ‘Chretien recalls in an interview.
“We all felt that there was healing in our prayer time, and the Lord said … ‘There will be no more delays.’ ‘
Chretien sends an SMS to McCrae. “I said …” there will be no more delays. It’s not going to be delayed again, it’s going to happen. ‘But I did not tell him about the cure. ”
On May 9, McCrae and Joel went to the Northeast Christian Fellowship in Melfort, a church they had attended for less than a year. Senior pastor Paul Dubois recalls that during the service he felt led to ask a church elder to tell a story to the congregation about how his sister was healed after praying for her.
“His sister … went to do the operation, and they went to examine her … and there was nothing wrong. “They did some tests, and she was completely cured,” Dubois told The Epoch Times.
“I felt that God would do this for Joel, so we gathered and some people prayed for him, and we just believed in it.”
When the operation arrived in Winnipeg on May 25, McCrea posted on Facebook: “Joel wakes up this morning and feels good and at peace. Joel is excited to have it all done, and so are we. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support. It means so much. The surgery will be an all day operation and I will update as I know more. ”
Two hours later, however, a staff member came into the waiting room and told McCrea that the doctor wanted to see him. He immediately thought something had gone wrong, but in fact the opposite was the case.
“We have really good news, something we’ve never seen in a child with an AVM like this,” he says.
” I’m really shocked that this happened. And I want to tell you, I did four angiogram scans on your son, four of which. “The reason I did four is because I did the first one … and there was nothing wrong with his brain,” McCrea continued.
‘And [the doctor] said: ‘This is crazy. Let me see another scan and in a different angle. “And then he looked at the second one and said, ‘There’s nothing here yet. What is happening?’ So he talked to the nurse and said, ‘Are we sure we have the right patient here? Is this Joel McCrea’s file? ”
They had the right patient.
” OK, we’re doing a third from another angle. And he said, It is very strange. I did another check, and nothing. The whole AVM was healed. He said: ‘I do not know what else to say, but it’s the best news you’ll ever hear from a doctor. Your son has no trace of his thing – completely healed. He said: “I will follow up with an angiogram in a year, but you do not have to worry about anything until then.”
Dubois remembers McCrea’s call the day he told him the good news. “I started crying,” he said. “To me, it’s a deep wonder.”
The Bible defines faith as believing without seeing. But as McCrea found out, seeing is also believing.
“Sometimes you put God in a box and think, ‘I know he can heal, but it sounds so complicated, so let’s pray for the surgeon, give him wisdom,'” he said. “Yet God wants to do something that no one thinks can be done, and that’s what happened here. … In this crazy time we’re in, give it a go [people] faith, it gives them hope. You know, ‘if God can do it for Joel, he can do it for me.’ ‘
Dubois says that God is “the ultimate setter-top” and that Joel’s inspiring experience is the “tip of the iceberg” for lives that will change.
“We had more than a year of people who were isolated, withdrawn and really discouraged. And we have had to deal exponentially with so many people who have really lost their way in the midst of COVID, ”he said.
“They are heartbroken. They are the ones who need the miracles … so when we see something like this with Joel, it’s just the core of what God wants to do. ”