Friday, September 18, 2009

Tri City Herald Follow up Editorial Opinion

Our letter to the editors on September 2, 2009
Dear Editorial board…
I just wanted you to know how very grateful we are to you and the Tri City Herald for affording us to share our daughter Mailia's story. Donations have started to come in locally and we have already raised $5,500 thanks in full…to you and your staff and generous readers.

We pray the next several weeks, with some letter writing, blogging and fundraising we can get there.

I would like to comment that I got blind sided yesterday while I was reeling from excitement from the editorial article and saddened at the same time from receiving news that a daughter of a dear friend of mine from Riverview, New Brunswick Canada passed away a few weeks ago from the same disease as Mailia. Ashley's obituary...

Her name was Ashley and I was led or maybe "divinely guided" yesterday to Google Eisenmenger's Girl where I found her personal blog and later, put two and two together and knew in my heart…it was my friends daughter Ashley and that she wanted me to contact her mom and tell her she was okay…but also, that Mailia would be okay as well.

Her last few words in her first post hold meaning as I validate her concerns and wishes so…I will blog her story as well in tribute to her and all who are trekking down this Eisenmenger's journey.

I also want to bring to your attention, that I had been struggling with the fact that maybe people do not believe how serious Mailia is…but I know Ashley came through yesterday and today, loud and clear…to help with this process I think.

I hope to have some time to update Mailia's pages on her web site to validate and acknowledge all her wonderful benefactors and to keep everyone abreast of the financial stream and where we are at any given point.

We have had an outpouring of praise for your writing and journalism covering Mailia's story…folks tell us they truly were inspired and loved it!~

Thank you Ken, Rick, Chris, Lori, Matt, Michelle and everyone else we may have not mentioned... We are truly grateful!
Andrea & Max Goforth

Editorial Opinion - Sept. 1st.

A little help by lots of folks adds up to a big difference

By the Herald editorial staff

For parents, watching a child endure life with a debilitating condition is heartbreaking enough. Knowing there might be a way to help that child but being unable to afford the procedure must be agonizing.

Max and Andrea Goforth are hoping the community's generosity will help them pay for an experimental surgery for their daughter, Mailia, who suffers from Eisenmenger's Syndrome -- a large hole in her heart that causes high blood pressure in her lungs, or secondary pulmonary hypertension.

The Franklin County family is trying to raise $75,000 before the end of September. Their thought is if many people donate a little bit, they could reach their goal.

Granted, it would take thousands of small donations, but the Tri-Cities is large enough that such a feat is possible.

When Mailia was a baby, doctors told her parents there was no way to repair the hole between her heart's left and right ventricle. Doctors said if she could stay alive long enough, perhaps technology would catch up and there would be a way to help their daughter.

Since then, she has survived with the help of an oxygen tank. She cannot exert herself at all, as she tires too easily. She doesn't know what it's like to walk more than a few steps.

Mailia is now 15, and it finally looks like a procedure has been developed that holds promise for her. Dr. Zannos Grekos, a Miami surgeon, has discovered a technique using adult stem cells that could help Mailia. He started using the cells to treat heart patients in 2006 and to treat lung patients about 18 months ago. In that time, he says he has successfully treated 20 to 30 patients with pulmonary hypertension.

The problem is that Grekos' technique is considered to be in the experimental stage and isn't covered by the Goforths' health insurance. And because it is so new, it can't be done legally in the United States, even though the doctor is a Miami surgeon.

If enough money is raised, Grekos would fly to the Dominican Republic with the Goforths to perform the procedure on Mailia.

She doesn't have any time to spare. When she saw her cardiologist in Portland in May, the Goforths were told the left side of her heart is collapsing, while the right side is enlarging.

The Goforths are desperate to help their daughter. After conducting extensive research, they believe Dr. Grekos has the answer.

We know a lot of folks are watching their pennies, but how often does the chance to be part of a miracle come along?

Donations can be made by going into any HAPO Community Credit Union and contributing to Mailia's Miracle fund. Information about other ways to donate is available at

Mailia has never had a normal life. If enough Tri-Citians pitch in -- even a small amount, she has a chance for one.

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