For the first 188 days of her life, Charlotte Mae McGee lived in Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.
Born prematurely at 23 weeks, Charlotte is the second child of Jon and Cassie (Holic) McGee of the Buffalo area. Her delivery on Nov. 24 came three days after her twin brother, Gabriel Paul, died two days after his birth.
On May 1, Charlotte went outside the hospital for the first time as her parents took the 45-minute drive home with their baby. “I kept turning around to look at her in the back seat,’’ said Cassie, a graduate of Waterville Central School. “We had dreamed of it but it still seemed hard to believe.’’
When the Times carried a story about the McGee family last winter, the outpouring from the community for financial and emotional support helped them immensely. As we put together our 2022 Oh What A Beautiful Baby edition, Jon, Cassie, Gabriel and Charlotte became the obvious choice for our Baby Family of the Year.
I spoke to Jon and Cassie in late June, the day before Charlotte went in for her fourth surgery. Although it went well initially, an infection and complications required a fifth surgery and an extended hospital stay for Charlotte into this month.
“When we learned we were going to become parents,’’ Jon said, “this is not how we thought it would be.’’
Jon and Cassie met in a philosophy class at Canisius College in Buffalo. With two weeks left in the semester, the two were assigned to a group for a final project.
They agree Jon was smitten first, pretty much right from the first hello. “We talked that day and we’ve been talking together every day since,’’ he said.
Jon’s from the Buffalo area, so it made sense that when Cassie’s family - she’s the daughter of Kimberly Holic and granddaughter of Paul and the late Joyce Holic of Waterville - came for her graduation June 1, 2019, they set their wedding day for then as well.
Cassie teaches French at Iroquois Middle School and Jon works as a pipe fitter machinist at Moog in Buffalo…