Lonnie MacRae from New Richmond, Wisconsin spends his free time building the stuff kids' dreams are made of -- forts, tree houses, and lemonade stands -- all going to children who've had a tough road. His hope is to help make sure they have a happy childhood despite circumstances outside of their control.
Those kids include 7-year-old Anthony Brayal, who suffers from spina bifida, epilepsy, and a neurological condition that causes harmful pressure on the tissues of the brain.
“Anthony has undergone his 33rd major surgery,” MacRae said. “He's 7. If you do the math, that's one for every 2 ½ months of life.”
But inside his fort and on his ground trampoline, Anthony has a place of escape.
“Every house kind of fits the kid, what they're into, what they dream about,” MacRae said.
MacRae builds these dream houses in his spare time, thanks to donations to his new nonprofit, the PALS Project. A lemonade stand was built for 9-year-old Jeffrey Thompson Jr., who lives with epilepsy.
“He'll help me make his lemonade, he'll fill the ice bucket cooler, and he'll stand out there and he'll try to wave at every car that passes,” Jeffrey’s mother said. “Just to see that in his eyes is just amazing.”
MacRae’s next goal is to help children across the country. You can learn more about the PALS Project and how you can help at gofund.me/The-PALS-project