Every year, Great Ormand Street Hospital Children's Charity asks people across the UK to get baking to raise money for the charity. Fundraising is vital to children like Maia (above), supporting life-changing research and care that makes a difference to each of the 618 children that arrive at the hospital every day. In this blog, GOSH Charity told us more about Maia's story and how the hospital was able to help her, as well as sharing Maia's favourite baking recipe - gingerbread biscuits!
Maia was born in November 2014, six weeks premature and weighing just 3lb 1oz. She was transferred to GOSH in January 2015 for urgent surgery on her heart.
While she was at GOSH, Maia’s doctors realised she also had a rare condition called long segment tracheal stenosis (a narrowing of the trachea which provides air to and from the lungs).
As well as an operation on her heart, surgeons performed a slide tracheoplasty, a pioneering surgery technique developed at GOSH which shortens and widens the trachea but makes it stronger, helping Maia to breathe.
Mum Meera says: "If it wasn’t for the doctors at GOSH picking that [trachea condition] up so quickly, I don’t think she would be here with us today. They saved her life. It’s a rare condition and involved very intricate surgery to repair it, so we’re really pleased she’s doing so well.”
Maia recovered from surgery on the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, and then on Bear ward at GOSH. During this time her family stayed in parent accommodation, which GOSH Charity raises funds to support. Meera says: “staying close to Maia was so important to us as I wanted to be there for her and do as much as I could to help her recovery. Being so close meant we could visit the ward at any time, day or night.”
"The care Maia received both at our local hospital and GOSH was fantastic. Where in the world would you get care like this, we are so lucky in this country to have a place like GOSH to provide the care we needed for Maia.”
Five months later Maia returned to GOSH for more surgery to repair the holes in her heart. Meera says: “the surgery changed Maia’s life and she was able to come off the tube feeding and started eating solid foods which she loved. The care Maia received both at our local hospital and GOSH was fantastic. Where in the world would you get care like this, we are so lucky in this country to have a place like GOSH to provide the care we needed for Maia.”
Maia has regular check-ups, scans and echocardiograms on her heart, and at the moment she is doing really well but she may need further surgery on her heart in the future.
Meera says: “Maia is a really enthusiastic and happy little girl, she loves dancing, gymnastics, athletics and swimming! We didn’t know whether her tracheal condition might cause her breathing difficulties that would make it too dangerous for her to swim. But she loves it! She’s confident underwater, and it’s just brilliant to see her enjoying herself.
Maia has just noticed the scars on her chest for the first time, Meera says: “About a month ago she came out of the bath and asked about the scars on her chest. This was a really emotional moment for me and her dad as she starts to understand and ask about her condition. We told her they are her beautiful scars. She even showed everyone at nursey. We are really proud of her.”
To say thank you for the care Maia has received at GOSH, Meera and her family are supporting this year’s Bake it Better fundraising appeal (21-27 May) in aid of GOSH Charity.
Maia is one of the stars of our Bake it Better campaign this year - Meera says: “We all really loved the Bake it Better photoshoot, Maia had a brilliant time with all the flour and baking ingredients! We loved watching her enjoy herself and I’m so glad we got involved. We want to share our story to provide hope to other families, because when you’re in that situation you really think ‘where do we go from here?’"
Maia’s favourite recipe: gingerbread biscuits. Meera says: “She loves them, especially the decorating!”
Maia's Favourite gingerbread biscuits recipe
350g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
175g light soft brown sugar
1 free-range egg
4 tbsp golden syrup
Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl. Add the butter and mix until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the bowl and mix until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes or until cool. When cooled decorate with the writing icing (icing and water mix) and cake decorations.
Every year, Great Ormand Street Hospital Children's Charity asks people across the UK to get baking to raise money for the charity. Fundraising supports life-changing research and care that makes a difference to each of the 618 children that arrive at the hospital very day. Find out more about Bake it Better and how you can get involved here.