Our Inspiration - Maylea Estridge
The Race Against the Odds Arkansas is held in honor of Maylea Estridge. Maylea was a beautiful and healthy baby girl, was born October 25, 2007. She was such a happy baby as well. She had very little hair and at 3 years old, she finally had enough of it to put into pigtails. She was a tomboy and a princess. She loved make-up, dancing, singing, and dress-up but also loved swimming at the river, riding 4-wheelers, eating watermelon, shooting her cousin’s BB gun and climbing trees. She loved animals and babies very much as well. She was a smart, beautiful, loving little girl. She left letters hidden everywhere for her loved ones. She had the best personality, was so very funny, and made us all laugh and smile every chance she had. When Maylea entered the room, there was never a dull moment.
March 2014 is when everything started to change. The right side of Maylea’s face began to droop, and then her walking got worse. On March 25, 2014, Maylea was diagnosed with DIPG – Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a brain tumor that had wrapped itself around her brain stem. Her family sat in a room while a doctor told them she has a 0% chance of survival. Maylea had to have a port placed in her for chemo treatments and had to endure strong radiation. This was only to shrink the tumor for a moment. This caused her to lose her hair. Steroids were also given making her tiny little body swell to the point she couldn’t walk at all. She was just miserable, yet she still tried to make everyone around her laugh.
Towards the end, she was taken off of all medications and steroids and went into what they called the ‘honeymoon’ stage. Her family turned to some of nature’s remedies which helped her quality of life immensely for her last few months with us. She lost the steroid weight but lost a bit too much. Still, she fought to walk no matter how hard it was until she started having seizures. We’ll never forget that first seizure. After that, she could barely walk. She sat watched her friends and cousins swim, looking so sad and deep in thought. Aunt Dawn walked over to her and of course she immediately started smiling, talking and making goofy faces. She never wanted anyone to be sad. After her second seizure, her little body just couldn’t endure anymore. She went to the hospital and they made her as comfortable as possible.
Maylea was always special from day one. She touched thousands of lives and we will never forget her beautiful face and soul. Her strength through her 16-month battle was amazing and admirable. We want everyone to know DIPG is real and it took a beautiful soul on June 8, 2015. Let’s help make DIPG known worldwide. Help us raise money for DIPG and other childhood cancers research. Thank you!