Sunday, September 20, 2009

WARRIOR - MAYA HATHAWAY, SAN DIEGO, USA

Maya and her Mommy at St Baldricks fundraiser
Super Maya - how gorgeous is this photo?

This is gorgeous Maya and here is a bit of her story of fighting neuroblastoma



On July 9th 2007 she was admitted into Rady Children's Hospital with a high-fever that would not go away and a very low blood count.



For almost a week she had doctor's baffled and then they found two tumors. A very, very tiny tumor around her lower right rib and a primary tumor that was pretty large (about half the size of her stomach) above her right kidney and above the right side of her stomach.



We were then moved from the CCU to the HEM/ONC unit and since then pediatric cancer has been at the center of our family's lives. We were so overwhelmed; Maya had only been here for 5 1/2 months, how could she have cancer already? Unfortunately, no one knows.



So far Maya has gone through seven rounds of harsh chemotherapy, tons of scans (some requiring radioactive medicine through her hickman line & anesthesia), 5 total surgeries ( four for line replacements/placements and one 7 hour surgery for tumor resection), bone marrow aspirations, 2 spinal taps, tons of labs, shots & medicines and 20+ blood transfusions. She had a very sucessful surgery at the end of October at MSKCC in NYC where the amazing Dr. LaQuaglia fully removed the rest of her tumors.



After that she had the 5th-7th rounds of chemotherapy, and an autogulous stem cell transplant at Rady Children's then radiation and 3F8 antibody therapy at MSKCC in about six weeks time. Before she turned one, Maya had gone through more than anyone I know has gone through in their lifetime and she does it with such grace and strength. Through this all, she remains a very happy smiling baby.

Maya's favorite things music, dancing, singing & watching Elmo-- she loves Elmo! Maya thinks the funniest people in the whole world are her Daddy and her big sister Tianah (age 13). She loves to laugh, sing and eat and she has a big family and lots of friends who loves her tremendously. Right now we are all praying for her to beat this horrible cancer. It angers and disappoints us that there is a lack of funding and research for childhood cancers, especially neuroblastoma.


In August 2007 we found that Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City has a world renowned neuroblastoma program with a protocol to include their 3F8 antibody which kills neuroblastoma cells. Not only that, their protocol to treat neuroblastoma is more aggressive than any other hospital and the team at MSKCC has dedicated their whole professional career to fighting neuroblastoma cancer (visit http://www.bandofparents.org/). They are known as the best in the world, so you can see why we take Maya there for treatment. According to the American Cancer Society there is only a 30% chance of survival for my daughter’s diagnosis due to the high number of patients that relapse (1% chance of survival after relapse). High-risk neuroblastoma is a very aggressive type of cancer and there is no known cause or cure for it today.
Maya is the strongest baby ever. She is a princess and a warrior all in one, fighting this disease with everything she has in her little body. She is amazing and she is such a good baby. She has everyone she meets wrapped around her tiny fingers! And they love her so very much too! The more prayers the better. We really want to find a cure for nueroblastoma and to get Maya better. Anything you can do to support that cause would be great. We pray everyday for Maya, that God has blessed us with such a beautiful baby who has the strength of 1,000 soldiers, a heart of gold and a smile so infectious and big it just warms your heart.
Maya relapsed in January 2009, 3 weeks before her 2nd birthday, with a 3cm tumor on the cerebellum part of the brain. She had an emergency nuero surgery to remove the tumor and place an omaya port into her brain for treatment. She began more chemotherapy and high dose radiation to the brain and spine. She is also recieving a mouse antibody similar to 3F8 called 8H9 (a radiaiton mouse antibody that goes direcrtly into the Omaya port in her brain) which is directly for tumors in the brain. MSKCC is the only hospital in the world with this treatment and has had much success with 8H9. We are praying that Maya becomes one of the success stories as well. She remains strong as ever, completing every treatment with so much grace and strength-- she is truly a miracle. We are praying that God gives Maya complete healing and allows her to grow up into the beautiful lady I know she will be.



The latest update on little Maya is that her scans done at the end of August are clean, clean, clean!


Maya's Mommy Amber is a graet advocate and had made it her mission to educate and create awareness wherever she can.



Our prayers continue for you precious Maya to remain NED always and forever and that your current treatment cements this for you! Prayers and hugs and love to you and your wonderful family from all of us here in South Africa! Stay as gorgeous and clever and as cute as you are!

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