In 2016, NNCCF featured Maya in the fall newsletter when she was 3-years-old and newly diagnosed with leukemia. Maya and her family started their journey with cancer and were trying to grasp what was ahead in the next couple of years. Maya experienced lumbar punctures, steroids, oral chemo, infusions, and hospital visits. Her family shared their thoughts and fears with us, and we gathered around to support them through their life-changing diagnosis.

Now Maya is an energetic 5-year-old with the world at her fingertips, and we are ecstatic to announce that on June 18, 2018, she rang our “No More Chemo” bell. She celebrated with a large group of family and friends, and rang the bell in her new, pink, childhood cancer survivor dress. The party was decorated, in tribute to her nickname Maya the Dragon, with large dragons made out of balloons and streamers.

Maya’s father, Scott, expressed the gravity behind Maya completing her last dose of chemotherapy, “The emotional weight of the moment was more than I expected – there was some cheering, a few high-fives, but mainly there were firm hugs and whispered expressions of gratitude,” he said. “The reality of this transition was not lost on Maya who celebrated as happily as anyone.”

During Maya’s party, we celebrated the outpour of support from the community during her “Aloha Chemo” fundraiser at Shoe Tree Brewing Co. to benefit NNCCF. The fundraiser raised $9,505 to help local children and families affected by childhood cancer.

“NNCCF is more than just monetary support for families trudging through this mud. It is a safe place to visit, experiences for our kids when they are isolated or not, mental health resources, advice, and hugs. Great hugs,” said Sara, Maya’s mother.

Her family included the fundraising element to commemorate the “beauty of community” and support system they had during treatment. “At first I thought the generosity we received was intended to save Maya’s life. Now I see that our people mobilized to save our whole family– that we might come through this as strong as we were before,” said Scott. Maya and her family presented their fundraising check and equally matched our gratitude to the kind people that support our foundation and families.