Skip To Main Content

Anna Grace McDonald

When Anna Grace McDonald was 10, she could outrun every kid in her class. But it wasn’t easy. Anna Grace was in pain—a lot of pain. She told her parents that her body hurt everywhere. It was initially diagnosed as growing pains, but it got worse. Over time, the little girl who could round the bases more quickly than anyone in the league couldn’t run the bases at all. She was crawling out of bed and could barely walk due to pain and stiffness.

Anna Grace was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), a chronic illness that can cripple children if left untreated. After years of pain, Anna Grace was able to begin treatment, expensive treatment, including Remicade infusions that cost $14,000 per month. Anna Grace worked toward remission with soaks in hot baths to get her joints moving. Two things were recommended to ease her pain: Heat therapy and water therapy.

At a Safe Step sponsored luncheon, Anna Grace spotted something that could provide both: a Safe-Step Walk-In Tub, the world’s best state-of-the-art tub whose air jets and water jets could provide Anna Grace with numerous therapeutic benefits. So enamored with the tub, she got in and posed for a picture. But her parents knew that while the tub could ease Anna Grace’s pain, they simply couldn’t afford the tub. They had both suffered layoffs while Anna Grace was in treatment.

Anna’s mother Denise decided she wasn’t going to give up. So she wrote the company whose tub Anna Grace had fallen for. She told Safe Step the story of how Anna was looking at her disease as a ministry and she was going to educate as many people as possible about JIA. Anna Grace spoke at Arthritis Foundation events and created her own Facebook page to do just that. Denise didn’t expect a reply but she received one that has changed her little girl’s life.

Safe Step, which routinely receives numerous letters for tub donations, recognized that Anna Grace was making a difference in her school and community. So the company decided to make a difference for the Helena teenager. Through its award-winning national program of giving, Safe Step Cares, the Nashville-based company surprised Anna Grace with the very tub she fell in love with, at no cost to the family.

“We were moved by Anna Grace’s story and Safe Step is in the business of changing the lives of our neighbors and friends, every day,” said Mike Duffer, president and founder of Safe Step Walk-In Tub. “We heard she loved our tub and we were thrilled to surprise her with something that has eased her pain and changed her life.”