Mailia is excited to be back in preschool. The fearless four–year–old known as Mai Mai wasn’t able to go to school after she was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor in August 2007.
When doctors discovered the cancer, Mai Mai’s parents, Mark and Stacy Sato, did what many parents do: they went online.
“Mark stayed up nights surfing the web for information about Wilms,” says Stacy. “That’s when he found CaringBridge.”
At first, Mark wrote most of the updates. “I thought, I’m living this, I can’t write about it,” recalls Stacy. But she soon discovered that writing helped.
“It’s a healing thing,” she says. “When you’re in the middle of doctor appointments and chemo, you don’t have time to think. But when you write, you decompress.”
A picture is worth a thousand words
Stacy says posting pictures on the website has been almost as important as the updates.
“When you hear ‘cancer,’ your mind pictures the worst,” she explains. “It’s one thing to read that she’s doing well. It’s another thing to see Mai Mai smiling and playing, being herself.”
“She’s been amazing,” Stacy continues. “Every time we go to an appointment she says, ‘I’m a brave girl. I’m not going to cry.’”
Cause for celebration
In March 2008, the Satos got the news they’d been hoping for: Mai Mai’s scans came back clear.
Stacy and Mark have been awed by Mai Mai’s courage. They’re also grateful for the love and concern expressed by so many people throughout Mai Mai’s treatment.
Through surgery, radiation, and six months of chemo, CaringBridge has been a source of comfort and strength. “All of the messages, they really keep you going and lift your spirits,” says Stacy.
“You just have no idea how much support you have until you go though something like this.”