Mother gives back to hospital through gift of reading

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Michigan mother says she credits Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for saving her daughter’s life.

Ann Tisdale says right after her daughter Maya was born premature, she was transferred to the hospital where she spent the first three months of her life. Now that Maya is home, she is hoping her journey will inspire other children to keep fighting.

“When Maya was born, the first, especially the first like three, four weeks in the hospital, we couldn’t hold her. She was too fragile, too small to even be held,” said Tisdale.

Tisdale says for the beginning of Maya’s life, it was hard to connect with her.

“In the beginning she was on a ventilator and then on oxygen,” said Tisdale.

Their family found something to bring them together.

“The thing that we found that we could do every day was read books, so that just kind of became our thing. We would read books to her every day and it was a really important part for us to be able to connect with her,” said Tisdale.

Maya was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 2-years-old. Tisdale says at first, she couldn’t find a book that really showcased children with disabilities.

“I wanted Maya, she has such a feisty, fierce personality. I wanted her to have a book that really represented that part of her, you know, of her journey,” said Tisdale.

She decided to write her own book, titled “Mighty Miss Maya.” She hopes to show her daughter and other kids that they can do anything they set their minds to.

“We’re really excited about that,” said Tisdale.

To give back to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, the Tisdales have donated about 150 copies of “Mighty Miss Maya” to kids there. They hope to give out even more in the future.

You can read more about Maya’s story online

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