Damon James photo

COLUMN: Fundraiser helps Abbotsford family fulfill $100K goal for BC Children’s Hospital

Five years after setting their goal, Team Miracle Maya surpasses their target

October 18, 2010 — it’s a dark day forever etched in my memory.

My wife and I sat watching our tiny daughter, four months old, but weighing just nine pounds. She was strapped to a hospital bed in the ICU at BC Children’s Hospital, recovering from open heart surgery.

The doctors told us the surgery went well.

With Maya’s tiny hand clutched tightly around her mommy’s finger, suddenly there was a vacant look in her eyes.

Her heart had stopped beating.

What happened next remains a blur.

We were pushed aside as the doctors and nurses sprang into action, beginning CPR and chest compressions.

Escorted into a private room, we were left to sit and wonder. What was happening to our daughter? Was she going to be OK?

All I can remember is thinking, ‘I can’t lose my baby girl,’ a giant lump in my throat, my head throbbing as I tried to be strong and hold back the tears.

Her heart stopped for 22 minutes, but they were able to save her.

She spent the next week hooked up to an ECMO machine — the machine pumps blood through the body, causing the blood to bypass the heart and lungs, allowing the organs to rest and recuperate. A nurse was by her side at all times, monitoring every beep.

Once she was off the machine, Maya spent the next few weeks recovering from the trauma her body had suffered.

It was a difficult time, watching my child, lying listless in her hospital bed, a tangle of tubes and a constant stream of doctors and nurses checking on her throughout the day.

But she would be OK, going from the ICU to a hospital room a few weeks later and then, finally, home.

We realized we needed to do something to show our gratitude, to give back, and Team Miracle Maya was born.

A goal of raising $100,000 for BC Children’s Hospital was set — the approximate cost of one ECMO machine.

Our efforts began in 2013, when Maya was nearly three years old and we held our first Share A Smile fundraiser.

The plan was to raise the money by the time Maya turned 18. But last Saturday night (March 17) in Surrey, we held our fifth and final Share A Smile, surpassing our goal in less than five years.

Except for the long, jagged scar on her chest, my daughter looks like most other seven-year-olds, a happy little girl who loves to sing and dance.

Maya still regularly visits BC Children’s Hospital for appointments and has undergone seven surgeries, including another open-heart surgery in 2016 to fix a second hole, discovered during the initial operation. Once again, she flat-lined during surgery, this time for one minute.

Another surgery still awaits as Maya will need to have her pulmonary valve replaced at some point down the road.

We’ve reached our goal, but none of it would be possible without our family, friends and community and for that we say thank you.

Eight years ago our lives were turned upside down and we are grateful for all those who have helped us through this dark period so that we can look forward to brighter days ahead with our daughter.

Gary Ahuja is sports reporter for the Langley Times.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Several years ahead of the deadline they set for themselves, Abbotsford’s Ahuja family has raised more than $100,000 for B.C. Children’s hospital. The fundraising campaign was started as a way to say thank you to the hospital and its staff for saving the life of Maya Ahuja (seated in front), who will turn eight in June. Damon James photo

Just Posted

Surrey man’s extensive report calls city’s policing claims ‘unsubstantiated garbage’

Surrey’s Richard Landale has taken public engagement to a whole new level

Surrey’s Eat the Dishes named finalist in Small Business BC awards

Marissa Bergeron says she ‘jumped for joy’ when she found out

UPDATED: Surrey RCMP say man suspected of impaired driving, assault has been arrested

Cory Ulmer Brown is white, six feet two inches tall, 196 pounds and has brown eyes and brown hair

474 Surrey intersections monitored by live-feed cameras

Cameras prove to be useful tool for commuters, ICBC, RCMP

Surrey RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Delta police officer

One officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving another officer is investigated

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

Mud slide prompts evacuation in Burnaby as rain saturates southern B.C.

About 20 metres of a five to six-metre high wall gave way

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

Fraser Valley poultry producer’s $130,000 fight with the CFIA earns him a red-tape award

Canadian Federation of Independent Business Paperweight Awards ‘honour’ government over-regulation

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Most Read