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Local family turns hobby into business, begins paying it forward

Posted at 5:08 PM, Nov 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-06 18:43:11-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The last 13 years have been anything but a breeze for one local family. Faced with several challenges along the way they're now turning their misfortunes into blessings. 

"Lucky, lucky, you feel very lucky," said Kari Rawley of Salvage 2 Chic

That’s how Rawley said her family feels now, but years ago, after her son was born, she said it was a completely different story.

"He was born and it became kind of a whirlwind of events," said Rawley. 

On March 20, 2004, her son Ethan Rawley was born. Little did she know then, he'd leave one hospital and head for the next. 

"The doctor said his oxygen saturation was low and that they heard a heart murmur," said Rawley. 

Ethan was born with a heart defect and he’s also missing a portion of his 18th chromosome. 

"It's pretty rare. There's about 1,000 kids worldwide with it," said Rawley. 

At only 15 months old, Ethan had his first open heart surgery. At 7 years old, he had his second, after learning he had congestive heart failure. 

Two years later, Ethan's heart failed again. Needing a procedure that no local hospitals could perform, Rawley said they hit another bump in the road after two out of three major facilities wouldn’t take Ethan’s case. 

"I dont' think they felt they could end up with a positive outcome," said Rawley. 

Ethan ended up at Boston Children’s Hospital for the procedure, where Rawley said she and her family had to plan for every possible outcome. 

"One of the big surgeons high-fives you and says, he did great, and I'm like, oh my god, you know, it's just an amazing feeling," said Rawley. 

But, medical expenses continued to pile up, and Rawley was diagnosed with breast cancer. With three kids and full-time jobs, Kari said she and her husband Brian Rawley had to turn a hobby into a business, and they called it Salvage 2 Chic. 

Now back on their feet, they’re showing the kindness they once received. 

"To finally be in a position where we're not the ones fretting, we're not the ones worried and to be able to help take that burden off somebody else is pretty amazing feeling," said Rawley. 

Rawley has now been cancer-free for five years and, she said, Ethan’s heart is working as well as the day he was able to come home from Boston. 

This weekend, you can get some holiday shopping done early at the 15th annual Gift Gallery in Leawood. Salvage 2 Chic will be there along with dozens of other local vendors. 

All of the proceeds benefit local children’s charities.