One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Marielle Payton, Student Public Relations Writer

It was in the middle of volleyball practice that then-high school student Macy DePew started wheezing unexpectedly. What she thought was a simple asthma attack turned out to significantly alter the next 3 months of her life.  

DePew, a current senior at Cedarville University majoring in communication, was confronted with a crippling autoimmune sickness that struck just one month before her 17th birthday.

On an ordinary day in high school, DePew began wheezing unexpectedly and had to sit down. A coach offered her an inhaler, which induced dizziness, not relief. Unknown to her, she had symptoms of pneumonia that would later trigger a full-body autoimmune overresponse.

A few weeks later she began experiencing a severe headache while attending a friend’s basketball game. Concerned that she wasn’t feeling well, DePew texted her mother that she was coming home. Upon entering the house, she laid down on the living room carpet and went to sleep — for 12 hours.

DePew woke up with a high fever, which continued for 28 days. Three days into the fever, 35 of her major joints — from her neck to her toes — were inflamed. And, from that point, she could no longer walk. Her parents took her to numerous doctors and specialists, one of whom finally offered an explanation.

DePew had tested positive for rheumatoid arthritis.

It wasn’t easy for DePew to maintain a positive attitude when her whole body was in pain. She had to sleep on the living room couch on the first floor because she couldn’t climb stairs.

Her physical pain and disability caused DePew to miss two months of school.

DePew said. Lonely and scared, she struggled with selfishness and anger toward God.

“I was journaling and wrote, ‘God, why are you doing this to me. I’m so mad at you,’” DePew shared. “I’ve never been this mad at God. All that time I was a mess. I was crying constantly. All I wanted was for myself to get better. Everyone wanted that, but I neglected to think about how I was affecting everyone around me.”

Two weeks later, DePew reflected on her previous words, realizing that God was going to use her experience in some way, even if she didn’t know how. She began to tell herself, ”This may not have been a part of my plan, but it’s a part of God’s plan.”

A month later, DePew returned to school and found another classmate who had also been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. The two connected, and she was able to help the student by sharing her experience.

Both students were encouraged because they shared a common, yet painful, experience.

Through a multitude of medications, including steroids, pills and injections, the disorder’s symptoms began to abate. By the time of DePew’s freshman year at Cedarville, the majority of her pain and any related flare-ups subsided.

“It’s been four years since that has happened,” DePew said. “I’ve been in remission for a full year and been on medical remission for two years. It’s truly a miracle that God healed all of me. I do get occasional joint inflammation but it’s nothing compared to what went through.”

DePew was able to enjoy her freshman year of college relatively pain-free and is grateful to still be in remission to this day. She’s also been able to connect with students at Cedarville with similar experiences and struggles. What was the loneliest period of her life turned out to be a way for her to empathize and encourage those around her.

Adversity taught DePew that everyone will face challenges in life — and it’s all about the perspective you face them with. Realizing she had no control and that she needed to fully trust God enabled her to develop a more positive outlook through her pain. Instead of asking why she was being put through so much pain, DePew’s new mindset enabled her to ask how her trials would be used to further God’s kingdom and how that would equip her to minister to others.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,082 undergraduate, graduate, and dual-enrolled high school students in more than 175 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, high graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and the #4 national ranking by the Wall Street Journal for student engagement. For more information about the University, visit

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