When she was just nine years old, Maika Ting, from California, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare and serious blood disorder. Although her brother was a bone marrow match, allowing Maika to be treated, she and her family still grappled with uncertainty. She had been seemingly healthy to that point. So her family felt discomforted: what came next?
According to KTVU, Maika faced this uncertainty with dedication and drive; she even helped create a mural, shown in Jack London Square, to inspire and provide comfort to others.
Creating the Mural
Following her diagnosis, Maika’s family met with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Foundation helps fulfill wishes for critically ill children. Initially, Maika wanted to meet Michelle Obama or Simone Biles. However, due to COVID-19 limitations, these options were not possible. So Maika thought and thought — and eventually came up with the idea of a mural!
Her mural is yellow, covered in the foreground with pink, white, and blue flowers. Splashed across the mural is the phrase: “It doesn’t get easier. You just get stronger.” There is a particular emphasis on “stronger:” the word stretches across the bottom of the mural, driving home the idea that those looking are and can be strong.
Altogether, Maika hopes that the mural brings comfort and happiness to those who see it. If anyone is having a tough day, Maika just wants to bring a smile to their faces.
Normally, our bone marrow plays a role in producing new blood cells (red and white blood cells, as well as platelets). However, when bone marrow damage occurs, the bone marrow either stops producing, or produces a deficient amount of, blood cells. At the same time, the bone marrow also stops producing enough stem cells, causing blood cells to become aplastic or hypoplastic. Bone marrow damage can occur at birth, or through radiation, infections, chemotherapy, or chemical exposure.
Aplastic anemia can occur quite suddenly or develop over time, making this rare and progressive blood disorder a variable condition. This condition most often occurs in children and young adults. However, it can occur in those of all ages. Symptoms include:
- Intense fatigue or weakness
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath that worsens with exertion
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Recurrent infections
- Frequent nose bleeds or bleeding gums
Learn more about aplastic anemia.