My name is Laniesa and I have the privilege of being a mother to two great kids. Liam my oldest is nine and Maisie my baby is six. When Maisie was two I took her to the ER because she was having some problems walking. We were totally unprepared for the words there’s a mass in her brain. Maisie was immediately sent to Peoria Children’s Hospital for an MRI and surgery on my 26th birthday. Maisie was diagnosed with grade 3 anaplastic ependymoma. She came through the surgery fine and she was sent home the next day. A few weeks later we were on our way to a Memphis Children’s Research Hospital. Maisie underwent four months of chemotherapy followed by another surgery and then two more months of radiation. After radiation we were sent home and Maisie was able to finish the last six months of her chemotherapy at home. She took her last dose of chemo on her fourth birthday. Maisie came through everything with flying colors. The only thing she ever complained of was that she missed her brother. In honor of both Maisie and Liam my mother and I have started a nonprofit organization called ‘Project Maisie Hugs.’ What this organization does is it sends a doll to both the child in treatment and the sibling left at home so they can give their sibling a hug when they miss them. The dolls have a special pocket on the face to insert a picture of the child.
I truly believe that during her journey God was with us all the way. At the time of her diagnosis I remember the exact prayer I prayed and it was “Lord I know that you are doing this so someone could learn a lesson from all of this because Maisie has done nothing wrong, nothing to deserve this so please make this as easy on her as possible.” And that is exactly what happened. Maisie showed great resilience all through her treatment. She never really got too sick, she kept growing, and she was always in a good mood.
Now Maisie is going to graduate kindergarten in three short weeks. She can read, she can play, and she is a normal child in every aspect of the word. Just looking at her you would never know how hard she worked just to be a kid. Sometimes Maisie will ask if God gave her a miracle. I always tell her yes but I think I’m the one that got the real miracle and that is her.
Hi! My name is Gayla Trower. I am the grandmother of five of the best grandbabies in the world which happen to come from 3 of the best kids in the world! My granddaughter Maisie was diagnosed with ependymoma July 28, 2009. She was operated on in Peoria Illinois and then was sent to a Memphis Children’s Research Hospital for four rounds of chemo. After the chemo she had surgery in which the rest of the tumor was removed. Maisie, Liam, Laniesa and I flew to Florida for Maisie’s proton treatments. We lived at the Ronald McDonald house in Jacksonville for 2 months. It was good to be able to bring Liam with us. Laniesa home schooled him while we were there. As a grandparent I can say seeing one of your grandkids go through this is not at all fun, but If God is all you have, you have all you need, John 14:8.
Laniesa and I started an organization called Project Maisie Hugs. We give dolls to children/siblings that are dealing with cancer. The dolls have a place that holds a picture of the one they miss while they are getting their treatment. We stared this organization in April of 2012 and to date have given 150 dolls away. If you would like to request a doll for a child that is dealing with cancer, please visit us at the following websites: www.projectmaisiehugs.org and www.facebook.com/projectmaisiehugs2013