With an official diagnosis of rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer, Da’Maya would receive 42 weeks of intensive treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy. But first, she had to undergo a tracheotomy surgery, because radiation would likely cause the tumor to swell before shrinking it, and this could compromise her ability to breathe.
Following the surgery, Da’Maya couldn’t really talk, but she was trying to tell her mother something. Sywanda gave her pen and paper, and Da’Maya wrote, “Jesus.” Then she pointed up and whispered, “He has me covered.”
“From that day, I’ve been good,” said Sywanda. “Her faith and her belief in God has really helped us though this. When we first got here, I was a nervous wreck. Her personality keeps me going. She’s very strong.”
While at St. Jude, Da’Maya enjoyed activities, like painting with Child Life Specialists. And Sywanda, a teacher, was pleased her daughter could keep up with schoolwork thanks to the St. Jude School Program by Chili’s.
Da’Maya got her final dose of chemotherapy in June. Now 10 years old, she is cancer free and back at home.