Estacada boy battles CF, helps the homeless

Austin McRae, 9, will soon be in 4th grade

Austin McRae, 9, collects items for the needy and distributes them in Estacada, July 13, 2016 (KOIN)
Austin McRae, 9, collects items for the needy and distributes them in Estacada, July 13, 2016 (KOIN)

ESTACADA, Ore. (KOIN) — Austin McRae smiled as he stood by the back of a van filled with soaps, toothpaste, toothbrushes, pillows and shirts. These are among the donations the 9-year-old has received in his efforts to give back to his community.

“I love to give to the homeless because they’re so poor out there, you know,” the soon-to-be 4th grader told KOIN 6 News. “They’re just, like, out there, no nothing, just a tent.”

Austin’s effort began one day when he was out with his dad, Josh. They gave some money to a homeless person and Austin said he wanted to do more.

“So we got a website for me so people can donate for us,” he said.

Donations needed
> Trailer
> Flashlights
> Sleeping bags
> Socks
> Underwear
> Clothing
> First aid cream
> Canned food
> Money
Austin’s Cause

That website is also a new non-profit, Austin’s Cause, that accepts “donations of any kind.” They’ve received donations from their church, family and friends.

“We would love to do more. We would love to give them more money, we’d love to give them more clothes, we’d love to give them more food and we would love to give them even a house, if we could,” he said.

“I almost feel like Austin is 9 going on 21 at times,” his father, Josh, told KOIN 6 News. “He’s always had a giving heart. Austin has just always been a giving child.”

Josh said people have supported Austin throughout his life as he battles cystic fibrosis and Type 1 diabetes.

Austin said it’s really simple.

“I have CF, cystic fibrosis, a lung disease, and I went to the hospital. I want to help the homeless now.” The CF, he said, makes him cough and he has “a little hard time breathing.”

The boy goes into the hospital 3-4 times a year, his dad said, and takes daily treatments and medication.

Austin McRae, 9, collects items for the needy and distributes them in Estacada, July 13, 2016 (KOIN)
Austin McRae, 9, collects items for the needy and distributes them in Estacada, July 13, 2016 (KOIN)

“It’s really made him appreciate how much people do for him,” Josh said.

Austin said it makes him happy to donate these items, and his father said they receive as much as they give.

“People have even hugged him and thanked him for all the stuff that he does,” Josh said. “It just gives us a time of fellowship with them, too, which is important to us.”

Austin said when he grows up he wants to “be a doctor to help people.”

But for now, he has fun doing different things.

“We go fishing, that’s fun,” Austin said. “It’s even fun to give to the homeless and,” he added, “it’s fun to play trumpet.”

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