Shana and Maya Gordon welcome cruisers on a beautiful day Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Organizers of the event: Robert Ross, Earl Hornyak, and Heather Kaufmann Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Sentiments of the crowd Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Beautiful views along Route 565 Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Grandparents Pat and George Sabourin with Shana and Maya Gordon Credits: Jennifer Murphy
Maya's Miracles: Cruise 4 a Cause
Thursday, August 16, 2012 • 1:52am
HARDYSTON, NJ – Mother Nature could not compete with Maya’s sunny smile and gentle disposition.
“She’s here!” announced her mother, Shana Gordon, at the Miracles for Maya, Cruise 4 a Cause Fundraiser held Saturday, August 11.
Twenty-three cars and one motorcycle cruised from the Wallkill Valley High School parking lot, caravan style, through the beautiful scenic countryside, to the Chatterbox Restaurant on Rt. 23, Augusta. Organized by Heather Kauffmann, Robert Ross and Ogdensburg School Custodian Earl Hornyak, participants contributed donations, purchased stickers, bracelets and ribbons, and raised over $1,200 for Maya’s continuing medical needs.
Officers from Hardyston and Hamburg Police Department, and the Sheriff’s Office escorted the entourage, and blocked traffic at intersections.
Maya Gordon, age 3, was diagnosed before her first birthday with a rare disease called Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). It is estimated that this syndrome affects about 1 in 1.2 million babies. It began when she had complications after having mono in the winter of her first year of life. Her immune system is still fully compromised.
“It’s harder this time,” Shana explained. “She knows more about what’s going on. We’ve had to try to explain to our three-year-old that she’s going to stay in the hospital for several months, and have tubes coming out of her.”
Organizer Heather Kaufmann explained, “We know Maya is going back into the hospital for a long time. Her family travels back and forth to Philadelphia twice a week, and it’s hard with money. We love Maya, she is like family to us. The United States won’t fund for a cure, so we are.”
“Everyone’s donating a lot,” said Robert Ross, “Even with a small turnout. We are just trying to make enough to get them out there and back for three months.”
“They’re our neighbors, they are like extended family,” commented Earl Hornyak.
Shana extended her appreciation of the support the trio has offered. “They’ve taken to her like she was their little sister.They’ve done so much.”
Maya will be returning to the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia for a bone marrow transplant on August 22. It will be her second procedure of this type. She is expected to be hospitalized for up to three months. Her parents will be staying right in the room with her. Maya’s father, Chris, is a State Corrections Officer in Annandale, NJ. In order to be with her, his co-workers donated their own time off to contribute to his. In addition, he will be taking time off under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which is unpaid.
Shana said, “His co-workers have been fantastic, his job is awesome.”
She added, “I am extremely blessed to have him as my husband, I don’t know anybody else that could do what he does all day, and still deal with this. He does what he has to do because he’s her father and he loves her.”
Chris Gordon was not at the fundraiser, because he was working.
Maya is the niece of Officer Stephen Gordon, Ogdensburg Police Department, and granddaughter of Pat Sabourin, Vice President and longtime member of the Ogdensburg First Aid Squad. Shana’s sister-in-law is a retired captain of the Hardyston Police Department, and her brother is a police officer in Butler.
On Monday night, Maya’s Grandmother, Pat Sabourin spoke at the Ogdensburg Town Council Meeting.
“It seems we hear a lot about teens in trouble, but here we have three young people that put together Cruise 4 a Cause, and they deserve a lot of thanks and recognition," she said.
Anyone wishing to donate to Maya’s cause can send a check, made payable to: Maya’s Fund, c/o Lakeland Bank, 25 Route 23 S., Franklin, NJ 07416 For more information, please visit: www.Ourmayagirl.com.