Journal

Journal entry by Bonnie Collins

Hello!  I hope this finds all of you well and healthy during these crazy times. 

I just had to post something that was on my heart tonight.  Some of you know that tomorrow is the grand opening of our long awaited brewery, Third Eye Brewing Company.  This is Tom's dream come true.  Tom has been brewing beer in our basement for years and years, close to ten years.  The guys who have brewed with him have changed over the years and the brewing configuration in our basement has expanded and eventually taken over a majority of our basement area, but Tom has never given up on his dream.  I jokingly called the set up in our basement the "meth lab", as often I'd hear the guys down there yelling that something was overflowing, exploding or on fire! 😳 

When Maya relapsed for the 3rd time, the beer brewing was put on the back burner.  And when she passed away it was still a thing of the past.  But as time went on, Tom started to tinker around down there and soon his brother, Tim, joined him.  Tim, has always been Tom's faithful brewing companion, and then Tom Schaefer joined in and brought along Terry Krieg and Mark Buchy.  And the partnership was complete.  The "meth lab" was in overdrive again and the beer was flowing!

After a while it was decided (a large part of this was yours truly telling them to get the meth lab out of my basement!) that they needed to move this craziness out of our basement and the search for a brewery location had begun.  They searched for 2 years before they landed on Sharonville and the Northern Lights District.  Sharonville is an up-and-coming area that currently does not have any breweries.  The location is directly across from the Sharonville Convention Center and is surrounded by hotels, one of them (the one next door) owned by friends that we have known for years!  It was a perfect location and the city has been amazing to us.  They have embraced us with open arms!

Then the search for brewers and a chef began.  Tom Schaefer's daughter, Chloe, is a microbiologist and a graduate of the University of California-Davis master brewer certificate program.  And how awesome to have a female brewer!!  Shortly after posting a job request for another qualified brewer, we received a message from Kelly Montgomery, a very well known and award winning brewer in Cincinnati. They are the perfect pair!

So the quest for a chef began.  Months ago, out of the blue, I received an email from Steven Vanderpool who was in Houston and looking for work in Cincinnati as he planned to move back home (he is from Cincy). He had Googled "graphic designers in Mason" and my name popped up.  I worked with him to update his resume and was very impressed with his credentials (and drooling over his food pics!).  Fast forward several months, Covid was hitting and we were in desperate need of a chef.  I mentioned to Tom that maybe we should give Steven a call as maybe he still was unemployed due to the pandemic. Tom called "Cheffy" and they hit it off and he indeed was still job searching.  

How lucky are we?!  The menu Steven has been working on is incredible.  The beer that Chloe and Kelly are creating is perfection.  Our kitchen and brewery staff are amazing and we already feel like they are part of our family. We are so blessed.

Maya knew that her daddy's dream was to open a brewery. I truly believe that she is showering us with her pixie dust as everything is completely falling into place. We had a few soft openings last weekend to iron out the kinks and it went beautifully.  On Sunday night, as the staff was sharing a celebratory drink, Steven mentioned that Maya has been visiting him in his dreams, even though he never had the privilege to meet her.  How amazing is that?  I still think it's crazy that Steven Googled for a graphic designer and my name popped up... some little angel must've had a hand in this! 😇 

Third Eye has partnered with the Live Life Maya Foundation and we have some exciting fundraising plans in the works.  We hope to make Maya proud.  Thank you Maya for helping to make your Daddy's dream come true. We know that you have a big part in this.  

For more info about the brewery, check out these articles that were published today:

The Enquirer
365 Cincinnati

And be sure to follow us on social media at Third Eye Brewing Company.

Wish us luck for tomorrow and we hope to see you all at our brewery sometime in the near future!!

#LiveLifeDoGoodDrinkBeer
#LiveLifeDoGoodSaveLives
#GoodThingsAreBrewing
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Journal entry by Bonnie Collins

Hello friends, I hope this message finds you all well.  So, the last time I made a post was Feb. 20th.  My, how things have changed since then!  Who knew??!!  

I just wanted to reach out to check on everyone. I know how hard this is for all of us. So much lost.  Graduations, vacations, proms, end of school celebrations, jobs.... the list goes on and on.  Such devastation and loss. So many people are hurting. There really are no words. 😢 

The Collins family is hanging in. In all honesty, we are used to living in isolation.  Quarantine was our life with Maya for many years.  But it still doesn't make it easy.  Annabella is sad to be missing the rest of her freshman year at Xavier and she had a wonderful internship lined up at a non-profit working with Spanish speaking ESL students that has now been postponed to next year.  She's been a trooper though, knowing that she most likely will be living at home all summer (she would've been living on campus for the internship).  Nothing like being stuck in quarantine with the "rents" all summer when you could've been footloose and fancy free on campus as a 19-year old!!  She's taking it waaay better than I ever would!  But, we are blessed to have an amazingly unselfish daughter who knows that it could be MUCH worse, and she is blessed to have a bed to sleep in and food on the table during these trying times.

Our foundation has been hard at work trying to help several pediatric cancer families during these trying times as well as support some incredibly promising cancer research. Many have lost jobs and are struggling to pay the medical bills, let alone put food on the table. Being such a new foundation, we don't have the means to help as many families as we would like, but we do our best to help as many and as much as possible.  All of our fundraisers have been cancelled for the near foreseeable future. We hope to host our annual Bingo events in the fall/winter, but for now everything is on hold. We are still collecting donations for raffle/auction items if anyone would like to drop anything off with me. If we have to cancel all events this year we will hold onto them for next year. Thank you to all who have dropped off items to me so far this year!

We are so thankful to everyone who donated items to our Mother's Day fundraiser in conjunction with the Shine Like Sable foundation.  We were so sad to have to postpone the fundraiser to next year, but we really had it in our hearts to be a Mother's Day event, so we have postponed the event to the same day, May 8th, 2021.  Please mark your calendars.  We will be notifying everyone when tickets go on sale next year.  And if you have already purchased tickets we will hold onto them for next years event or you can request a refund from EventBrite

To read an article about our foundations and the event visit: https://citylifestyle.com/cincinnati-oh/articles/life-and-culture/kindness-matters

Today is national #GivingTuesdayNow, an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  Today is also Cinco de "Maya", a day that our family loves to celebrate with blue margaritas and toasting to our girl!  You can see in the photo below that Maya loved Mexican food!  If you have it in your heart to donate to our foundation, or to my St. Jude fundraising team in Maya's memory we would be so grateful.  I'm trying to top $1K in donations today!  You can also Venmo to LIVELIKEMAYA!

In conclusion, please feast your eyes on the train wreck "Dance Challenge" that our family performed last night to raise $$ for St. Jude.  Tom hurt his foot during his epic jump at the end so no more tries for us!! Needless to say... I need to keep my day job... ha! 😂  So, please don't let this embarrassing dance (and Tom's hurt foot) be in vain!!  Please consider a donation to our foundation or to our St. Jude team!!  

Thank you all for your continuous support and generosity and stay safe and well!  #LiveLikeMaya

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Journal entry by Bonnie Collins

Hope.  To me, hope is one of the most important words in the universe.  Hope for the future. Hope for love. Hope for prosperity. Hope for joy. Hope for LIFE.  Without hope there is despair. 

This has been a hard week, for many.  And I've been struggling with what to write today.  I knew I wanted to write something... a tribute, but I was at a loss for words.  This week we lost a precious young life, and we honor another who passed one year ago today. Ben Tavella passed in his dorm room on Tuesday. As written in the press release by Mason schools, "Ben was a fiercely independent, witty, bright young man, who had defied many odds and was pursuing engineering."   Maya loved Ben and I know she greeted him at the gates and wrapped him in love.  

Sable Gibson passed away a year ago today, from complications related to the flu and strep throat.  Both of these deaths have rocked our community.  For  families like ours, who have lost a child, these deaths bring back memories.  Trauma.  It all comes crashing back.  It is hard not to despair.  

But, in the aftermath of tragedy there is hope.  Hope for peace and comfort.  Hope for love.  Hope that life will continue, somehow, amidst the grief and despair.  

Sable's death has brought our community together.  The kindness and love that has embraced our community because of her has been amazing.  I know that Ben's death will do the same, will renew the love and kindness within our community.  Both of these sweet souls will continue to bring us together, to work together for the greater good.  To give us hope and faith in humanity.

So, I felt that "hope" was a fitting tribute for today. And even more fitting as I head to St. Jude this afternoon with one of my dearest and most loyal friends (I have many and for that I'm so grateful).  Heading to the hospital that is so dear to my heart.  That offered our family so much hope.  I will feel closer to Maya there.  I can't wait to feel her.  😇  When I think of hope I think of this photo.  It was taken the day we arrived at St. Jude.  We had so much hope.  Hope for a cure.  Hope for a long life.  Hope for the future.

So, as our community grieves during this "National Kindness Week" please honor these babies and do an act of kindness.  Sable's family asks that you make a donation to their foundation that does so much good within our community.  To make a donation please visit: https://shinelikesable.org/  Or make a donation to your favorite charity, buy a coffee for someone or a meal for the person behind you in the drive-thru.  Give a big tip to your waiter/waitress...  or simply open the door for someone and smile. A simple smile can go a long way.  And say a prayer for these two families on this extremely hard day.  Pray that they can find comfort and hope amidst despair. 

#LiveLikeMaya
#MayaStrong
#MayaSentMe

Journal entry by Bonnie Collins

119.  We were 119 votes short of winning the Xavier grant.  😭 The animal sanctuary won and as bummed as I was, I know Maya would've been happy as she loved animals. And I was amazed at how many votes we received and thankful for my village who rallied so hard for us!  So I licked my wounds, pulled up my bootstraps (I'm really showing my age with these comments) and moved on... only to open a letter in the mail this past Saturday with a check for $5,000!! 😍  It was a grant from an extremely generous couple in Kentucky who have followed Sophia Kappen's journey (Sophia passed away a few months before Maya of leukemia also).  Amy, Sophia's momma, was so kind to try to rally her village for votes for us so I guess this sweet couple followed our progress and took pity on me when we lost, LOL.  Anyway, I am so grateful for their most generous donation!  I would give them a shout out on here but I'm not sure if they want to remain anonymous or not, so if they see this post I just want them to know that I cried like a baby when I saw the check!! 😭  THANK YOU!  And thank you to ALL of you who tried SO HARD to get us the votes!!

I do want you all to know that your donations are helping families!  We have delivered assistance to several families at Cincinnati Children's Hospital over the past few months. I am so happy to be able to help, even if it is probably just a small drop in the bucket as compared to all the medical bills that they have.  I hope, as our foundation grows, that we can do so much more!

I know this is last minute, but if anyone is interested, I'm delivering and emailing Valentines out tomorrow in return for a donation to our foundation.  I came up with the idea yesterday after I received two donations from individuals who donated as a Valentine gift for their loved one.  For a donation of less than $25 I'll email a Valentine's Day e-card acknowledging that a donation has been made to our foundation in their honor (and a message from you if you include it with the donation).  For a donation of $25 or more I'll deliver a box of chocolates and the same card of acknowledgement (if the delivery is local in the Mason area) if you include the recipient's address. For more information visit:  https://mailchi.mp/094cc73e7cde/send-your-valentine-a-card-for-a-cause It's an easy way show you love someone and help a great cause!!

And, finally, we have some BIG NEWS that I wanted to announce that we are super excited about.  We are hosting a Mother's Day luncheon fundraiser at the Manor House Event Center here in Mason on May 9th in conjunction with the Shine Like Sable Foundation.  Sweet Sable passed away suddenly last year from complications of the flu (next week is the one year anniversary of her death, so please send up prayers for her family).  Her family is also from Mason and they have since formed a foundation in her memory and are doing amazing things to carry out her legacy!  Both of our foundations raise funds for Cincinnati Children's Hospital (CCHMC) so we are joining forces to host a fundraiser for this hospital that fought so hard to save our girls!  We will have speakers from CCHMC at the event, games, music, mimosas, delicious food and much more!!  Tickets will go on sale in March so keep a lookout on our website for the link!

We are looking for raffle and silent auction items for the fundraiser.  Incredibly, I posted this sign-up sheet for baskets and auction/raffle items on Facebook and within 48 hours a majority of things had been claimed already!! But there are still a few things on there if anyone can help us out: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d4aaaae2baa8-raffleauction

Also, other things we are looking for are theatre/orchestra tickets, photography sessions, limo rides, spa packages, vacation destinations or any type of experience like a personal chef or private restaurant event.  

Next week I will head to St. Jude for the Volunteer Leadership Conference. Last year I had the honor of attending as I was on the Cincinnati St. Jude Run/Walk committee.  This year I will attend as one of the top 50 fundraising teams. I'm super proud about that and looking forward to touring the hospital and seeing friends. 

It's going to be a great year!  We have been diligently planning our upcoming fundraisers.  I'm excited for what's in store.  Oh, and Tom is going to be opening a brewery in a month or so (I am Event Director), so there's that too.  Life is insane, but we constantly feel Maya... nudging us from behind and whispering in our ear. She fuels my fire.  I am learning to listen to my heart... to let go and let my heart take me where I need to be.  She is there... always... leading the way. Teaching me and showing me.  I may not hear her speaking the words, but she is everywhere... guiding me.  And for that I find peace.  Tomorrow will be a hard day for a lot of us.  The memories of the girls, decorating their tissue boxes, the excitement of the school parties, filling out their cards carefully for each person in their class.  I know they both are/would be too old for all of that now, but I still feel cheated.  It all ended so abruptly.  It's just not right.  😢  But I AM excited to take Anna out to lunch tomorrow.  Seeing her eases my heart. She makes me so proud with everything that she accomplishes and I know Maya is so proud too. 😍  Happy Valentine's Day to all of you, and to all who might feel lonely or has lost a loved one, please know that we hold you in our heart. 🙏 

#MayaStrong
#LiveLikeMaya

Journal entry by Bonnie Collins

Hi Friends!  One LAST ask and then I'll stop buggin' you all on here!  Our foundation was in first place yesterday but the non profit running for second place hit up an Instagram Influencer who shared it and now they are getting hundreds of votes!  Ugh!  I made this blog public so please share or copy and past the instructions and info below to share on your social media.

If you could just take 30 seconds to vote we'd be so grateful.  $5,000 to help these pediatric cancer families would be so wonderful!!  And for Maya's sister to accept the grant in Maya's memory would be even better!  At Anna's own university no-less!!  Here's the info again on how to vote and voting ends tonight at MIDNIGHT!  Thank you all for your support!!!  #LiveLikeMaya #MayaStrong

Hi Friends! So, most of you know my story. My daughter, Maya, fought cancer for 6 1/2 years and passed away in 2017. 💔 Her older sister, Annabella, is a freshman this year at Xavier. Our family has channeled our grief into a foundation, The Live Like Maya Foundation MayaStrong, raising $$ to financially assist families dealing with pediatric cancer and to help fund research for better treatment options and cures for pediatric cancer. We are trying to win a $5,000 grant that is being offered by Xavier University I'm reaching out to all of you to ask if you would kindly nominate our non-profit. It would be amazing if Annabella could accept this grant in honor of her sister at her very own university! Currently the 2nd place non-profit is pushing this hard on social media and gaining momentum!! If you guys could take 30 secs to vote we'd crush this! *An added bonus - if we win and you vote for us you'll be added to a drawing for 4 premium seats to the Jan 29th Xavier basketball game!**
 
  1. You will have to choose the drop down "MY NON PROFIT OF CHOICE IS NOT LISTED"
  2. Type in "THE LIVE LIKE MAYA FOUNDATION".


For more information about Maya and our foundation, you can visit www.LiveLikeMaya.org. 💙Thank you for your support!! We are so grateful!




Journal entry by Bonnie Collins

Hello friends.  I've got a big ask of you today along with some other news so bear with me... 

First off I want to just express my sadness as I attended the funeral yesterday of a precious 15-month-old who passed away from AML (the same type of leukemia that took Maya) after fighting most of her short sweet life. 😢 I have become friends with her grandma, who is the most kind-hearted woman.  In addition, the day before yesterday I received a message from another precious grandma who has also received the news that her granddaughter has been diagnosed with leukemia.  News like this breaks my heart over and over again and just fuels my fire to keep fighting!!! 😡 

Our foundation is proud to say that we've donated checks to several families who are in need, but there are so many more who need help.  HERE IS MY BIGGEST ASK RIGHT NOW: 

We've discovered an opportunity to win a grant for $5,000 for our foundation. It is a give-back program through Annabella's (Maya's sister) university. The only thing that you need to do is VOTE FOR OUR FOUNDATION. It only takes 10 seconds to vote (you can only vote once but you can vote from multiple emails!).  If we receive the most votes Annabella would be able to accept the check at half time at the basketball game at her very own university in honor of her sister. I know this would make her YEAR!  We have over 4,000 people who follow us on CaringBridge.  If each one of you would vote we would crush this!   To vote, please go to this link, select "MY NON-PROFIT OF CHOICE IS NOT LISTED" and then write in the space below "THE LIVE LIKE MAYA FOUNDATION": https://app.wyng.com/XGivesBack?fbclid=IwAR1x9Cr3xJR2zjJYuSlW_bmK1e2-_RIWnj67yhrJnseWfWTuweFF1F_9Wak  Currently we are in second place but we've been head-to-head with the leading foundation for a few weeks now and they are pushing it hard on their social media.  Voting ends this Thursday so please vote for us soon!  ** An added bonus is that if our foundation wins and you vote for us you will be added to a drawing for premium seats for the January 29th Xavier game.**. THANK YOU!

Secondly, I received a text today from Mike Hull, Maya's second bone marrow donor, who has decided to train and run in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon next December.  I attended the marathon last month. I didn't run, but I wanted to check it out and support my friends who ran. Let me tell you, it is the most beautiful and inspirational thing you will ever do!!!  To run through the campus of the hospital and high-five the patients who are sitting along the street with signs and cow bells and their little bald heads.... it was incredible and so moving. To see the runners, tears streaming down their faces, as they hugged the kids... I can't explain how moving it was. Please watch a few of my videos below.  So, here is my ask of all of you.  I can't run... my knees are shot... but I do plan to walk/run the 5K... maybe I can even do the 10K??  Maybe??? For Maya??  I would LOVE to have a huge MayaStrong team at the marathon next year. I would LOVE for all of our supporters to join Mike's team, Team Live Like Maya, and join us for this incredible event.  There is a 5K, 10K, half and full marathon. Please join us... old and young.  Walk or run.  Please come.  It's sooo much fun. The whole weekend is fun.  People come in from all over the world to participate.  It will change your life!!!  You will meet other athletes and just people who have big hearts... hear their stories.  Some of them have been impacted directly by cancer, some of them have family or friends who have been impacted by St. Jude, but every... single... one... of them have the same mission, to help find cures for pediatric cancer!!  Please join our team & donate... please help Mike raise $50,000 for the kids of St. Jude in honor of Maya.  We can do this!!  Here is the link to my fundraising page and if you'd like to join us, please email me and I can help set up hotel accommodations so we can all be together!! But, if you commit to raising $3,000 your hotel room is free and St. Jude will set it up for you! Oh and FYI, Allegiant has just announced that they are flying DIRECT from Cincinnati to Memphis in the spring so CHEAP PLANE TICKETS!! But, we can also caravan from Cincinnati! That would be fun too!  I am posting Mike's email about why he is running and more details about the event at the end of this blog.  Here is the link to my fundraising page, and if you can't join us, please oh please consider a donation!:  http://heroes.stjude.org/MayaIsMyHero

And last but not least, to all my Mason friends... LifeTime Deerfield is once again hosting a fundraiser for St. Jude on March 7th, Ride for a Reason.  This year they are going all out and not only are they doing an all-day cycling event, but they will be offering a circuit class for people who don't cycle!!  Whooo hooo!  It will be an all-day event for St. Jude!  Please join our Live Like Maya team and ride with us or do the circuit class! You do not have to be a Lifetime member to participate.  It's a wonderful day of fitness for an amazing cause!  Here is my team page to join: http://heroes.stjude.org/RideForMaya  Please email me with any questions!

Thank you all for your support. Our foundation has lots of plans for this year. I know that I'm all over the place and it's overwhelming. If it's easier for you to just donate to our foundation that works too!  I plan to distribute funds this year to several organizations, including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, St. Jude and Cincinnati Children's Hospital. So, if I'm wearing you all out with my donation requests, just donate to our foundation here and I'll take care of it!  But, please take a minute to VOTE for the Xavier Gives Back grant so we can receive $5,000 to help some local families!   I love you all and I know you guys get tired of my requests, but I will never stop.  It's all for the babies.  I just hope to make Maya proud and I will always Live Like Maya!!

Here is Mike's note:

Hello friends, family, supporters- 
 
Here is your formal invitation to join me in Memphis for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend on December 5th, 2020. 
 
I spent this  last weekend at St. Jude in Memphis. I felt an overwhelming need to do more for the kids. When I walked the halls of the hospital Maya was on my mind and heart.  We need to fight cancer harder. We need to save 100% of these kids. 80% sounds good until your child is in the other 20%. My heart is heavy and I can’t fight the tears or feelings inside me to do more. 
 
If you’re interested in doing more too, I started a team. It’s called Team Live Like Maya. I would love to have you join. 
 
Registration just opened two days ago. The higher fundraising levels that come with more benefits will likely sell out this coming week. The top level comes with a two-night hotel stay. The fundraising commitment is $3,000. I can help you with that if you run. You could also select a lower level starting at $500. Don't let the fundraising scare you, remember  I can and WILL help!! Running for the kids is powerful. Running into the St. Jude campus is life-changing! You can also walk! 
 
Early bird registration will close at the end of tis month then not open back up until May. So register now :).  Let me know if you have any questions. No pressure at all, but I would love to have you join! 
 
Link to register: 
 

 

If you don’t want to run, can you support me by donating here: http://heroes.stjude.org/InHonorOfMaya

 
For Maya,
 
Mike

Journal entry by Bonnie Collins

Three. Three Thanksgivings without our girl.  Hard to believe this is our 3rd Thanksgiving without her.  It doesn't get any easier.  In fact, it seems to get harder.  The fog has lifted.  Reality has set in.  It's hard.

But we plow forward.  Trying to do good in her memory.  This is the only thing that brings us comfort and gets us out of bed in the mornings.  We hope to make her proud. 💙

We hit our $50,000 mark for St. Jude.  In fact we surpassed it.  Thank you all for everything this year.  We are already hard at work planning some pretty cool stuff for next year that will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Cincinnati Children's Hospital and St. Jude.  There are many ways for you all to become involved with our fundraising next year.  We will be looking for sponsors, partners, and if any of Maya's friends, or any young people for that matter, would like to get involved, I'd love to have "ambassadors" for the foundation to help us with some fun volunteering and fundraising activities.  Here are more ways you can help: https://livelikemaya.org/how-you-can-help.html

The book sales have been fantastic!  We were the #1 new book release on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!  I was interviewed about Maya, the foundation, and the book last week.  To watch it visit here. Very thankful to WLWT for featuring us on your Inspiring Cincinnati segment.  Thank you to all who have ordered the books. Several have purchased books for local libraries and the Ronald McDonald house. So wonderful!  All proceeds from the sales of the book benefit our foundation!

Also, we are now excited to be members of the Kroger Community Rewards Program and Amazon Smile.  A percentage of your sales at Kroger can benefit our foundation when you use your reward card. It's easy to enroll, visit www.Kroger.com and once logged into your Kroger account click on "Community Rewards" in the menu on the left side of your screen, search for The Live Like Maya Foundation by name or QU521 and then click "Enroll". New users will need to create an account which requires some basic information, a valid email address and a rewards card. It's easy to do!

For Amazon Smile, simply log into https://smile.amazon.com/ and select our foundation as the beneficiary and 5% of all of your Amazon purchases will benefit the Live Like Maya Foundation. Just remember that every time you shop you have to make sure it's through Amazon Smile so I have it bookmarked so it's easy to pull up when I shop.

Tuesday is the Day of Giving. I have been working with Cincinnati Children's Child Life department to form an Amazon Smile wish list.  If you'd like to purchase some much needed items for the hospital this holiday season, click here.  And as always, if you'd like to donate directly to our foundation we are always so appreciative.  https://livelikemaya.org/donate.html I'm in the process of writing as many hand written thank you notes as possible for all the generous donations this year. I know I won't be able to address everyone, but please know that each and every one of you are so incredibly appreciated!!

Beginning December 1st, we'd like to start our 25 Days of Kindness again.  For each day in December, please complete a Random Act of Kindness in Maya's honor. If you'd like to use our Kindness Cards and need more, please email me your address at LiveLikeMaya@gmail.com and I'll pop them in the mail to you!  

Phew, I think that's it. For now. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and hug those you love. Please also keep the families who have lost a loved one or are keeping vigil with a loved one in the hospital in your hearts and prayers this holiday season. 💙

#LiveLikeMaya 💙
#MayaStrong 💙

Journal entry by Bonnie Collins

So I have two big announcements to make! The first is that we have almost reached our $50K goal for St. Jude!  We are currently only $789 away from our goal!  Whooo hooo!  I committed to raising this amount for St. Jude in in the beginning of the year, before I even knew that we'd be forming a foundation in Maya's honor.  I've been determined to get there.  It's been a lot of work, but with the support of many amazing volunteers and donations from all of you we are almost there!  If you have it in your heart to donate towards our goal to fill our gap please donate to my page here:  http://walkrun.stjude.org/LiveLikeMaya Thank you for your continued support! I will never be able to fully express my gratitude!

We attended the St. Jude Day of Remembrance ceremony a few weeks ago, and while it was incredibly hard, it was also wonderful to visit with staff from the hospital and other patient families who had become our second family while we resided there.  We visited all our old haunts and Maya was everywhere.  I feel so close to her when we are there.  So many memories.  Lots of them are sad, but many are wonderful.  They just come flooding back.  It's hard to believe she's not there with us, chattering about and giggling as we push her around in her wheelchair.  But I know in my heart that even though she's not with us in the physical presence, I can feel her spiritually. And that gives me great comfort.

The second amazing news that I must share is that we have a published book about Maya and it's currently the #1 New Release on Amazon!!  OMG!! So, my dear friend, Robin Patrick, who I worked with many moons ago, was absolutely devastated with Maya's passing and literally holed herself up in her office for an entire week and proceeded to write and illustrate the most beautiful book about Maya.  She presented the book files to me right before Maya's funeral.  The book is incredibly beautiful.  I've been sitting on the files, not entirely sure what to do with them as I have ZERO publishing experience.  I finally took the dive into the world of self-publishing and was able to upload the book to Ingram a few weeks ago.  It's live now and I'm so proud of how it turned out!!  Thank you Robin!! All net proceeds from the sale of the book benefit The Live Like Maya Foundation.  To order your book from Amazon please visit:  https://www.amazon.com/Maya-Magnificent-Robin-L-Patrick/dp/0578601168/ref=zg_bsnr_3125_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=92ZV3S08DQZNC2TR92Q7

It can also be purchased at Barnes and Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/maya-the-magnificent-robin-l-patrick/1134544212?ean=9780578601168

If you order the book, please write a review for us and give it stars!  This helps us to boost sales! 

Thank you all for your continued support. Several of you have hosted fundraisers for us this year and we are so grateful!  Speaking of fundraisers, we have a Kendra Scott Live Like Maya Foundation fundraiser at Liberty on Saturday, the 9th, from 1-4 PM if anyone would like to get a kick start on your holiday shopping!  We will have a signature Maya inspired piece there for purchase and for every $70-$100 spent is an entry into a raffle for a free piece. Anyone that spends $350+, will be able to create a free piece of their choice at the Color Bar!  Stop by and have a treat and say hello! :-)

Lots of great stuff on the horizon for our foundation next year so stay tuned!  Love you all!  

#LiveLikeMaya
#MayaStrong
#MayaTheMagnificent

Journal entry by Bonnie Collins

Two Years without you.  😢 Your friends are growing up... dating, driving, homecoming, prom.  Justin Bieber and Imagine Dragons are writing new songs that you should be dancing to, and singing along with, out the window in the car at the top of your lungs.  Vacations without you.  Holidays without you. Birthdays without you.  And the world just keeps spinning.  It's hard to imagine a lifetime without you. It's just not right.  The world is missing a shining star. The world is vastly dimmer without your bright light.  

If you want to help brighten our family's day just a tiny bit, please donate to the Live Like Maya Foundation. And in Maya's honor today, please do a random act of kindness.  If you have her cards, please pass a few along today with an act of kindness and ask that the recipient pay it forward. Let's make the world a tiny bit brighter in her memory today.

"Fly high Maya The Magnificent.  Free of pain and suffering.  Hang your head out the window and catch the breeze in your hair.  Laugh at the birds.  Dance with the angels.  I can't wait to see you someday, twirling and pirouetting with your angel friends in Heaven.  I will wait for that moment with every breath that I take.  Until then my sweet one...


Maya Grace Collins
9/12/03 - 10/3/17

I love you.
I love you more.
I love you MOST
I LOVE YOU TO INFINITY!"

Journal entry by Bonnie Collins

Good morning!  First of all I want to thank each and every one of you for your donations on Maya's birthday. We surpassed the 1/2 mark of our $50,000 fundraising goal for St. Jude and we received a TON of donations to our foundation!!  We also collected 40 units of blood!  Amazing!  I am going to try to thank each of you individually over time, but there were so many I'm not sure I'll get to everyone but PLEASE know how grateful we are!!  THANK YOU!  

I just wanted to share some upcoming fundraisers and events that are right around the corner.

The Live Like Maya Foundation T-shirt Fundraiser is live!  There are several styles to choose from and all proceeds go to the Live Like Maya Foundation.  Designed by yours truly in honor of our superhero. 😍 To purchase a shirt click here.  

This Saturday is the Cincinnati St. Jude 5K Run/Walk.  It is at Smale Park on the riverfront downtown. Please join our team and walk with us.  Also, we are still collecting donations for our team through November. The weather looks like it is going to be gorgeous.  Here is the link to our team: http://walkrun.stjude.org/LiveLikeMayaHere is the link to the schedule for the day (scroll down).  I have 3 St. Jude mommas arriving from New York, Texas and NC to walk with us. Please join us and meet these precious mommas who lost their babies too.  😢 

After the 5K we will be having lunch at Pies and Pints at the Banks.  Pies & Pints will donate 20% of all food and non-beverage sales back to St. Jude for lunch on Saturday (location at the Banks only)! All dine-in and carry out orders apply. You must present the flyer at time of sale, can bring in a hard copy or show on phone/tablet.  I'll post the flyer in the photos below.  

Ladies night Bingo event, October 5th.  It's going to be sooo much fun.  I'm getting so excited!  Doors open at 6 PM but games won't start until 7:30ish so for those who have homecoming that night you should be fine. 2 drink tickets and hors d'oeuvre buffet along with coffee/dessert bar is included with your ticket purchase. We've got some beautiful authentic designer bags for prizes from Coach, Kate Spade and Michael Kors, along with some other great prizes.  Get your tickets here:  https://deewieyebingo.eventbrite.com . We are still collecting items for raffles/auction items for this event.  Also, if you have tickets to a play or performance that you can't attend and would like to donate we'd love them. If you sell jewelry we have something fun that we are collecting jewelry donations for. Please email me at LiveLikeMaya@gmail.com

I think that's it for now! THANK YOU ALL for your continuous support of our foundation and #LiveLikeMaya




Journal entry by Dawn Berryman

Hi Everyone,

Here is the latest update on Maya. 

Last night Bonnie & Tom learned that Maya has a high risk factor version of AML called monosomy 7.  Basically, it means that she is missing a chromosome.  This risk factor does make it more difficult to treat.  Because of this finding, the current plan is for Maya to receive 2 rounds of chemotherapy treatment (to begin Thursday) that will last approximately 2 months.  The hope is that she will then be in remission.  At that time she will most likely receive a bone marrow transplant.  They will look to Anna first as Maya's best option.  But it is very possible, still, that they will need to look to the national bone marrow registry for a match.  This is not the news they were hoping for, but they remain hopeful that with lots of love, positive thoughts and prayers Maya is going to take this challenge head on and beat it!  We told her to look at Lance Armstrong.  The man was given less than a 10% chance of survival and yet he beat his cancer and went on to win 7 Tour de Frances...not too shabby!!!  I wonder how Maya will amaze us when she grows up:-)!

In the next few days, there will be a link posted to this sight for you to look at and sign up for meal preparations and hospital visits.  There will be specific details to help you know what they like/dislike and how to prepare and deliver it so that they can enjoy it at home or the hospital.  As for visits, we are trying to make sure that Bonnie has visitors on a regular basis who can either sit with her and chat, take her out while Maya is at the hospital or sit with Maya while Bonnie runs out...basically whatever she needs during that particular day and time (remembering that it can always change, because hospitals and cancer treatments are not predictable).

Also, we will be organizing a bone marrow registry drive.  Our goal is to get EVERYONE on this list and more to get swabbed to be a potential bone marrow donor.  You may not be Maya's lifesaver, but wouldn't it be cool to be someone's?!?!?!  There will be more details to come on this, but it will most likely be sometime in May.

Bonnie & Tom are feeling overwhelmed about so many things right now, but your sentiments of positive thoughts and prayers are a good overwhelming thing and will help them get through this one day at at time, so keep them coming!
Maya’s Story

Site created on April 11, 2011

Hello!  Welcome to my website!  My name is Maya Collins.  I am 12 years old and I have been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).  I had a bone marrow transplant on September 1st, 2011 and my cancer went into remission but we found out in May 2012 that I had relapsed.  I had my second bone marrow transplant on August 3, 2012.  All was wonderful for 4 years!  I went back to dance classes, horseback riding and made straight A's in school!  I was able to enjoy life to the fullest until the end of June 2016 when unfortunately we discovered that I had relapsed again.  So, I enter the battle for a 3rd time, but I'm strong and fully recovered from my treatments 4 years ago so I'm ready to kick cancer to the curb once and for all!   Please follow my journey.  It's going to be a long, hard road, but with the love, prayers and support of my family and friends I know I can do it!  


We are currently at St. Jude in Memphis while she is recovering from her 3rd bone marrow  transplant.  Here is our mailing address:

Maya Collins - PATIENT
1811 Poplar Ave.
Target House 2, Apt. #319
Memphis, TN  38104


Bonnie's email address:  bcdesign@cinci.rr.com



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