Maia finds the courage to start again

“It helped give her the motivation to go back to school.”

Imagine moving to a new country – away from friends, family and everything you know – and being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

Now imagine experiencing that at age five. It’s a heartbreaking scenario – and for Maia’s parents, the hardest thing was seeing the effect Maia’s illness had on her.

Her mum Carla recalls, “It was so scary, not knowing if your child will make it through. Maia changed dramatically. She went from a happy, bubbly little girl full of colour and life, to being tired, sick, moody, pale and weak. We had to learn to take one day at a time, and celebrate the little things.”

A bright spot in treatment

For Maia, the one bright spot during treatment was a hospital Christmas party. It had rides, a petting zoo, food stalls, balloons and face painting – everything that kids love!

After missing out on time at school and making friends her own age, Maia had one thing in mind for her wish: she wanted to throw a party like the one she’d enjoyed in hospital, and invite her whole class. 

Maia’s newfound determination

Having a wish sparked something in Maia.After all the uncertainties of her illness and moving country – and everything she’d missed out on as result – she now had something to look forward to with joy and excitement. “It helped give her courage and motivation to go back to school to start making friends because she wanted lots of kids to come to our house to play” says Carla.

Make-A-Wish volunteers pulled out all the stops for Maia’s wish. From circus training to bouncy castles, cupcakes and cotton candy, it was the perfect day for Maia’s family to come together and celebrate all they’d overcome. “It gave us all something positive to focus on and look forward to. Seeing our child so happy and carefree is something we will be forever grateful for.”

Maia is now back at school and back to her bubbly self – with her new friends at her side.

Watch Maia’s joyous wish unfold here.