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The Leading Role Award – Adventuring With Mac

by Bethany Dumbleton

The Leading Role Award

Adventuring With Mac

As I sat and read one of the many emails that reach my inbox, I came across one that I didn’t realize would bring me to tears. What appeared to just be information that a concerned parent wanted to share with us turned into this month’s Leading Role winner. Her signature included a link to her blog, and being the curious person I am, I clicked on it. What captivated me?

A young couple who watched their baby boy, Mac, fight a battle with Leukemia. Mac went home to his Father and received his complete healing. What further captured me was their unwavering faith in God and the ministry they decided to start in his honor, Adventuring With Mac.

Mac’s Story:

macLiz and Elvin Calderon had endured a tough year of marriage in 2018. Liz told me, “The devil was at work!” Marital conflict and a miscarriage, among other things, found them absolutely shocked when Liz found out she was pregnant. Their two children, Emmanuel and Emelia, were so excited they were going to have another sibling. Emmanuel told Liz several times he KNEW he was going to have a baby brother, and he was right. Emerson (Mac) was born on June 6th, 2019. Before they even left the hospital, the adventure with Mac began. Liz, being a physician herself, noticed strange cloudiness in Mac’s eyes and voiced her concern to the nurses. He was diagnosed with glaucoma by their local eye doctor. Mac was even sent to a urologist to check out the swelling he was experiencing in his groin.

They went to Houston three different times looking for answers. One of these times Mac had to be sedated so they could do extensive eye tests, but they still had no answers. In October they were admitted to the hospital on two different occasions because of swelling and very high fevers. Still, there was nothing definitive. Finally, on November 7th, they decided to do an MRI on his eye and upon deciding it was in fact Leukemia, they started treatment.

It was a very short, but very long road.

Mac endured 10 long months of treatment and shortly following his first birthday, he relapsed. The doctor asked both Liz and Elvin to come in which is never a good sign. Mac would require a bone marrow donor. His protective older brother Emmanuel wanted to be the one for the job. They were put into a hospice sort of situation and were able to get medical marijuana which was the only thing that seemed to help their son in the last days they spent with him.

For three nights the Lord kept Liz awake, which she told me she believes He was preparing her for what was coming. The week before they had held a huge prayer vigil for Mac but Liz’s prayer was not one you would have expected to hear.

“Jesus, I would love to see you do a miracle. But, I don’t want my son to suffer…” 

Time to say “See you later.”

On the night Mac received his healing, Liz walked around with him and played worship music because he seemed fussy and uncomfortable. Tired, as she held her baby tight, she looked at him and prayed a very similar prayer,

“Jesus, you can take him. I don’t want you to, but I dont want him to suffer.” 

Liz called her mom to come over, and woke her husband up to join her in Mac’s last hour of life on earth. They were all praying over Emerson (Mac) when he passed. Liz woke Emmanuel up around 4 am so he could hold his baby brother and in the following days they all clung to Jesus, which they would all agree is the only way they made it through Mac’s adventure from start to finish.

How did you come up with the name Adventuring with Mac?

When I asked her this question, her answer was truly inspiring.

Cancer is not what one would think to be an adventure. It would appear to be like a treacherous trail. I thought about his life and what we were going through and I found the word “adventure.” Adventure- An unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. I thought, What a perfect way to describe our situation.'”

Adventuring with Mac begins…

When I asked Liz about her blog she said she started blogging just to document doctor visits and to keep track of the medical journey they were on. She liked using it as a way to keep everyone up to date with Mac’s health without having to share the same information over and over again. The dream of a foundation, however, started during Emerson’s 3rd round of chemo, around March 2020.

Adventuring with Mac has several ways they do ministry:

    • They collect unused medical supplies from families with extra. Instead of them going to waste, they provide them to medical facilities.
    • Care packages are put together with simple things like warm blankets, comfy socks, and yummy treats. Anything they think of to make an exhausting hospital stay slightly easier to endure. She includes a craft and a piece of art that her kids make, and something for the parents like a game or crossword puzzle.
    • Along with the care packages she includes the skin moisturizer her sister had come up with for Mac to use while he was in treatment. His skin was so dry and the product provided by the doctors helped, but was so oily and messy. A combination of coconut oil and shea butter seemed to do exactly what they needed it to do without all of the mess, so Emerson Mac’s Skin Care was birthed!

What else do you want people to know?

Having your child diagnosed with cancer can be the most devastating news given to you. It could be your only child or your 5th child, as a parent your love for them is unconditional. I knew that my comfort and peace had to be grounded in more than the horrible season that I and my family were in. I trust that despite my grief, which will be long, in God knowing that my son no longer suffers. His body is renewed and he is with Jesus. I can only hope that through us sharing our skin product, that families will also come to know who Jesus is. The following verse reminds me of that. 

Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.John‬ ‭9:3‬ “

Liz is an extremely generous person and has a heart to share in other parents adventure through cancer. Because of that, for every skincare item sold, one is donated to another family.

What an inspiring story from a beautiful family.

In order to further the generosity and hope that Adventuring with Mac is providing, you can make a DIRECT DONATION on the website, which also gives you both a recurring and one-time option. And share this story on social media or with anyone you know who may need a little hope today!


“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:16 

Bethany Dumbleton is the Chief Operations Officer for Counter Culture mom. She is first and foremost a devoted follower of Jesus Christ.

Her husband and two children are her main ministry which overflows into her life ministry. She knows that our children follow our example. She strives to help parents grow in Christ, so they may shepherd their children biblically.

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