Meet Maya

by Avis Matsuda, St. Baldrick's Foundation
January 2, 2018

Maya describes the day she was diagnosed with Wilms tumor as “the worst day ever.”

It was July 6, 2016, one month before her seventh birthday. Doctors immediately scheduled surgery to remove her left kidney, where the tumor was located. Two weeks later, Maya began her treatment plan, which included radiation and chemotherapy. But shortly after treatment started, more aggressive cancer cells were found in her tumor and Maya was placed on a more intensive chemotherapy plan.


Her family gave her the nickname “Mighty Maya” and she has truly lived up to it! With a positive attitude and fierce determination, the brave little girl prevailed in the fight against cancer. Today, Maya shows No Evidence of Disease. Her recent scans have been clear and her hair is growing back.

Maya with her parents

Best of all, she’s now able to get back to enjoying all the things she loves: hanging out with her brothers, going back to school full time, participating in Girl Scouts, and being with her friends, who mean the world to her.


Maya also has many favorites, which she can now simply enjoy. She loves animals and nature, adventure, music, purple, the animated movie character “Toothless” from How to Train Your Dragon, pandas, unicorns, and rainbows.

Maya with her dad

But her most favorite thing to do is go on adventures specially planned by her dad, Peter, who is the rock of their family. Fun trips to see waterfalls, explore hiking trails and discover new beaches are the best of times for the Gladhart family.

Maya with her family

Maya’s mom, Jackie, was a first-time shavee at the 2017 Seattle Children’s Hospital event and rocked the bald, raising money for childhood cancer research. She said, “Shaving my head for Maya was an easy sacrifice – having cancer isn’t.”

Maya with her mom

With her love of imagination and creativity, Maya looks forward to being an artist when she grows up. There is no doubt Mighty Maya will achieve her dream!

Maya is one of five St. Baldrick’s Foundation 2018 Ambassadors, representing the thousands of kids touched by cancer each year. Say hello to our next 2018 Ambassador …

Meet Zach