Meet Maya

In January this year, Scarlett took her daughter Maya to what she thought was a routine four-month maternal and child health check up. 

By the end of the month, her perfect daughter was being prepared for urgent brain surgery.

Donate now

In Scarlett and her partner, Brett’s, eyes, their little girl was perfect.

Scarlett explained, “We had absolutely no concerns. She was hitting all her milestones. She was, as far as we were concerned, a perfect baby.”  

But the nurses at the clinic felt differently. They noticed that the circumference of her head had increased strangely fast.  

Shortly after the appointment, Maya was referred to The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  

While this scan offered some answers, watching Maya disappear into the MRI suite filled Scarlett and Brett with anxiety.  

“She was sedated, and all wrapped up like she was about to be airlifted off a mountain and taken away for the MRI. 

“It was scary. Having your child wheeled away from you in a hospital setting is terrifying. I don’t think any parent is prepared for that until it happens,” Scarlett said.  

After more sleepless nights following the MRI, the family were referred to highly skilled and experienced neurosurgeon Dr Patrick Lo. Patrick told the parents that Maya had a condition called hydrocephalus, which means there is increased cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volume inside the brain.  

CSF is a vital fluid that ordinarily protects the brain and protects it from bumping into your skull and becoming damaged. It is also necessary for brain functionality.  

In Maya’s case, the fluid wasn’t draining from her brain but instead building up, causing her head to grow larger.  

This meant Maya needed brain surgery straight away.  

So, within weeks of her MRI, Maya’s neurosurgeon Patrick, was preparing her for an operation called endoscopic third ventriculostomy.  

“We employ a really long, tiny telescope that goes into the centre of the brain… using certain equipment, we can make an opening into the base of the receptacle and allow the fluid to run through,” Patrick explained.  

While this delicate surgery filled Scarlett and Brett with worry, they couldn’t be more grateful for the care her daughter received.  

“The actual lead up to the surgery was overwhelming. Not so much thinking about what the future would hold, but just worrying about the actual surgery itself.  

“But on the day of the surgery, she was just so well taken care of. Everyone was so wonderful,” Scarlett shared.  

Thankfully, Maya’s operation was a success, and while there is no cure for hydrocephalus, the surgery was an important step in managing her condition so she can fulfil her potential and live the life she chooses. 

The generous support of donors like you means the RCH can treat babies and young people like Maya. Your support is changing the lives of families just like hers.  

Scarlett shared, “I’m just so, so grateful that there are people out there donating to the hospital and allowing these children to receive such incredible care.”   

You can help patients like Maya. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.  

Donate now