Maya’s Story

Site created on November 18, 2018

We've created this Caring Bridge site to keep all of Maya's wonderful family and friends updated on her journey to restore her health. We appreciate your support and words of hope, love, kindness, and encouragement. We know many of you are frustrated as you can't be with Maya and our family in person, so we created this space so you can feel updated and included. Thank you for visiting and thank you for being part of Team Maya. 

Newest Update

Journal entry by Steve Amoils

Our Gratitude Journal entry:  Maya's Legacy - From H.O.P.E to HOPE

 

Dear Family and Friends,

In the whirlwind since Maya’s passing, our lives have been continually filled with gratitude for the incredible outpouring of love and support. However, as we have been attempting to regain our footing, we have struggled to find the time or ability to give appropriate thanks to literally thousands of people who have supported us in our grief. This note is just a small attempt to express our appreciation.

Maya was very adamant that she did not want to be remembered with sadness. This wish has been impossible to fulfill, but we have been working hard to imbue our lives with the meaning and purpose that she wanted for us. And we have been honored to receive such wonderful notes from so many of you, filled with Maya stories and describing the life lessons and inspirations that she left you. 

 

Maya’s strong desire to help others was evident very early in her life. At age twelve, while visiting her aunt and uncle’s hotel (Little Switzerland) in a remote, mountainous region of South Africa, our family visited a nearby village (called Langkloof) where most of the hotel workers lived. Maya was deeply saddened by the extreme poverty that had resulted from apartheid. Upon returning to Cincinnati, she readily convinced her friends that they needed to take action. They started a club at school called H.O.P.E (Help Other People Endure). Together with their families, this group raised close to $2 million! This money allowed for the rebuilding of a small preschool in Langkloof, equipped with running water and electricity. The funds also allowed for the construction of vegetable tunnels and fruit trees, in addition to a partnership with Little Switzerland that allowed 700 children to be fed twice daily for 20 years. Simply put, the H.O.P.E vision had restored HOPE to the community!

 

The H.O.P.E story beautifully illustrates Maya’s desire to give back to those not afforded the same privilege that she so appreciated. Similarly, Maya’s Way is a non-profit charity created to provide integrative care to young women under 40 with cancer. Maya strongly believed that her lifestyle approach allowed her to live and enjoy life despite her diagnosis, and she wanted to help other young women cope and flourish during their treatment. Her vision was for Maya's Way to serve as a source of inspiration as well as a resource for managing daunting diagnoses and minimizing treatment toxicities. During chemotherapy, for example, Maya credited acupuncture, massage, and dietary protocols/nutritional substances with helping her to endure close to 60 infusions. She especially wanted to reframe how patients saw and coped with cancer, allowing them to find fortitude and grace during an incredibly difficult time. 

 

The response to Maya’s Way has been overwhelming! We received over $400,000 in donations during the first month! So, this note is to again thank everyone, and to let you know that official letters are still forthcoming. Needless to say, we are still working toward firing on all cylinders. 

 

We can tell you that Sandi is going to head up Maya’s Way. We have decided as a committee that we will start small, with the goal of implementing the program as impeccably as possible. From there, we will grow. For now, we are working with the Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, and local Cincinnati oncologists. As we do so, we will keep everyone updated. If you want to be on the email list, please just email us at MayasWayProject@gmail.com with “Mailing List” in the title. 

 

Every night, Maya would write down three things she was grateful about in her gratitude journal. This too is now part of Maya’s Way. Dean and Misha started a tradition in our family of saying at least one thing we are grateful about when we sit down for dinner. 

 

So, with deepest gratitude, we write to thank you so very much for contributing to Maya’s legacy. And thank you for all of the incredible messages, gifts, hugs, and kind words. We will do our best to be good stewards of Maya’s Way, to help those we can, and to keep Maya’s legacy alive and strong: to keep bringing HOPE to the world

 

 

With love,

Angela, Misha, Dean, Sandi and Steve

(Maya’s Way Steering Committee) 

 

 

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