Storyteller: Maya Smith
Extraordinary Circumstance: Medulloblastoma
Book: Flight of Friendship
MAYA SMITH is a resilient, courageous and creative 13-year-old that lives just outside of Richmond, VA. At age 11, Maya was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a childhood brain tumor. In January of 2017, Maya started complaining of headaches that started as a few a week to almost every day. As months went on, the headaches were accompanied by nausea, vomiting, low energy, and then vision difficulties. After numerous doctor visits, an optometrist finally found the problem. It was that trip to the doctor that showed fluid behind her eyes. She was advised to go to the emergency room immediately. After an MRI, a tumor was discovered on her brain, and she had brain surgery to remove the tumor 3 days later. Prior to her diagnosis, Maya was very busy due to her many interests and activities. She was involved in many areas of dance, including ballet, lyrical, tap, pointe, jazz, and hip hop, along with basketball, volley ball, and making crafts. Although this journey was unexpected and difficult at times, Maya’s resilience has afforded her many opportunities to bring awareness to childhood cancer by being featured in photos, videos, and magazines. As the spokesperson for Anthem LemonAid Stand, which raises money for Children’s Hospitals, she was afforded the opportunity to appear on TV, participate in radio interviews, and star in a commercial. Her contagious smile and beautiful personality makes it hard for people to forget her upon meeting her.