It took her hair. It took her hearing. It took several centimetres off her height. For a while, it even took her ability to eat. In truth, it stole a huge part of her childhood.
But does it have to take her take her passion for learning too?
If you can, please donate today to keep children like Maya learning even while they are fighting cancer.
Maya’s mum, Sheila, watched her little girl go from a picture of health to a shadow of herself in what must have felt like a blink of an eye. The nightmare began when Maya was just three.
“Maya seemed perfectly healthy. Then she began waking up at night, screaming with tummy pains. The doctor thought it was a urinary tract infection, but eventually she was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma tumour. It was the size of a melon.”
Can you imagine? A tumour the size of a melon inside that little three year-old girl? Right up against her spine too. She was in so much pain.
Maya’s diagnosis was just the beginning of the harm that this severe, aggressive and incredibly dangerous cancer did to little Maya. You see, it took
radical treatment to fight it, and save her life...
...chemotherapy to shrink the tumour.
...surgery to remove as much of it as possible.
...a stem-cell transplant to replace blood cells destroyed by chemo.
...radiation therapy to finish the tumour off.
...and immunotherapy to help her body recover from the side effects of treatment.
When cancer has already taken so much from a child, your donation today can keep their education flowing whilst they receive treatment.
Maya’s treatment saved her life.
But the toll that all this treatment took on her little three year-old body was immense. The most serious complications included liver damage, almost entirely losing her hearing, and her digestive system failing to function properly.
As Sheila recalls...
“Her gut just basically switched off. It failed. She couldn’t eat or drink anything orally. For six months she was being fed centrally, through a tube. And for another two years after treatment, she still wasn’t able to eat properly. It impacted her nutrition and led to poor growth – she’s never going to reach her genetic height potential.”
It’s heart-breaking to think about bubbly little three year-old Maya losing so much.
However, it warms my heart to know that someone like Sonya, a teacher funded by Fight Cancer Foundation, can still keep the joy of learning alive.
That’s what your donation will do - it will make sure a teacher like Sonya can provide vital education to children fighting cancer.
Without Sonya, without people like you, Maya would have lost a whole year of learning, because that’s how long she spent in hospital.
When Maya lost her energy, Sonya read to her. When Maya lost her hearing, Sonya taught her how to hold on to her words, and it was Sonya who kept her education going for a year when she could not be in school...
...none of it would have been possible without the support of people like you.
Educators like Sonya do more than bridge a gap while a child can’t go to school. They provide huge psychological help too – a non-parental figure they can lean on for support.
It’s only thanks to your donation that someone like Sonya can be there for children fighting cancer. Sheila shared how important Maya’s time with Sonya was to her development:
“Maya was really missing school. And she loved Sonya. She loved that one-on-one attention. Especially when she was really sick and she wasn’t talking. Sonya understood and she would show her a couple of books, and Maya would just nod to which one she wanted read, and Sonya would just read. Sonya was really, really important for Maya. Maya’s hearing impairment had just occurred and Sonya was able to help her with her sounds and the alphabet. She helped to prepare Maya for school. Without that, she wouldn’t have even had the basics. That was really important.”
And of course, the simple truth is that Sonya would not have come into Maya’s life without the life changing help Fight Cancer Foundation's supporters provide.
You can provide that same support for other children very much like Maya, by donating today. When you donate, you’ll help to keep children like her learning.
Your impact will go further and last longer than you might ever imagine.
Today, Maya is doing so well in school. She’s just about to go up into grade 6. She loves books and sport and acting. And despite her hearing loss, she plays the trumpet and sings, and one of her favourite classes in school is speech and drama. Supporters like you helped Maya’s passions blossom.
Please will you do it again for other children fighting cancer? That’s the critical value of the educational gift you can give when you donate today.