Maya Goes to the Jingle Ball

January 19, 2018

Maya, 14,  has a rare tumor called a ganglioneuroma. She has had 3 surgeries to reduce this tumor because it encapsulates several critical arteries and veins in her body. It continues to grow back. This tumor began as the size of a loaf of bread and now has been reduced to the size of an iPhone.

In addition to this tumor, Maya has faced other medical and developmental challenges throughout her life. She received Early Intervention during preschool and overcame so many obstacles to be able to learn in a classroom with minimal supports. However, in 4th grade, she began to experience excruciating pain. This began the process of her tumor treatment and she is still being monitored and treated for complications today as a 7th grader. Maya aspires to be a surgeon, and works twice as hard as her peers to ensure that she is academically successful, despite experiencing pain and debilitating anxiety. She is fierce, fearless, and phenomenal. Her mom says that she feels so lucky to walk this journey beside her.

“Maya and the rest of our family so enjoyed the Jingle Ball.  She got to see so many of her favorite artists and scream and sing her heart out. Her absolute favorite performance was Camila Cabello.  Maya was especially touched by Logic’s performance – despite having the flu and looking visibly miserable, he got on stage and performed a single song.  Maya said, “I feel bad for him – I know all about days that you feel so sick you can’t even move.”

“We are a large family with children who came into our lives through foster care and adoption with special health care needs.  3 years ago, Maya’s sister Lia received a Do It For The Love Concert to attend the Jingle Ball. She was so sick the entire time, but she refused to leave in order to ensure that her siblings Maya and Zack had a good time.  Maya chose to use her gift to give Lia a do- over – the same restaurant for dinner, the same concert, the same siblings.  We even managed to squeeze some sightseeing in, since all were healthy.  It was a joy to watch their kindness towards each other, and every single day they talk about the memories they made – a song comes on the radio and they talk about the performance in concert or belt out the tunes together.  Thank you for this opportunity to share an experience and have some fun together.”