Brooklyn Mauca was just two years old when she hemorrhaged so badly she lost consciousness for 20 minutes.
“She woke up, she said, ‘Mama,’ and did a little cough, and I felt fluid all over me,” said Brooklyn’s mom, Christina Mauca, choking up. “She was hemorrhaging out of her mouth. There was crazy amounts of blood. A code blue was called.”
There was so much blood, some of it going into her lungs, that even after she was stabilized with a breathing tube inserted, doctors told her parents she would likely never wake up again.
The Bradford West Gwillimbury girl lost all her functions, including vision, speech, and abilities to move, eat and breath on her own.
“Right from the get-go they didn’t give us much hope. (They told us) if we were able to bring her home, she might not be able to do much of anything,” said Mauca.
The hemorrhaging occurred from complications after a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, and a procedure to insert tubes in her ears, all done because Brooklyn was constantly struggling with asthma, viruses and ear infections, Mauca said.
Brooklyn was at Southlake Regional Health Centre for overnight observation when the hemorrhage happened.
After she was stabilized, Brooklyn was airlifted to SickKids in Toronto, where she stayed for about two weeks. She then stayed in one of SickKids’ wards for another two weeks to further stabilize her condition and prepare her for rehabilitation.
Then Brooklyn spent three months at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto before being discharged last October.
“It wasn’t until we came home (she really started improving). We could see there was some kind of spark in her,” Mauca said. “She’s such a miracle. No one expected her to survive. She’s kind of a mystery to everyone at this point.”
Today, Brooklyn, now three years old, can breathe and eat some food on her own, has a vocabulary of 60 to 70 words, her vision is improving, and she is starting to walk again.
“The day before the year anniversary of the actual hemorrhage, she started taking independent steps,” Mauca said.
The journey to this point has been long and difficult — Brooklyn needs extensive therapies, including physiotherapy, and speech, vision and occupational therapies. She also regularly works with a pathologist, osteopath, and naturopath.
Mauca credits these therapies to making a difference in Brooklyn’s slow but steady recovery, but only so much of it is covered by insurance.
And with Mauca and her husband, Josh, both self employed as a physiotherapist and contractor, respectively, Mauca had to give up her job to take care of Brooklyn, and the family now stretches their one income to cover therapies and other life expenses.
To top it all off, Mauca is pregnant with twins — a boy and a girl — due in December.
“We thought it would be good to have other kids around. Kind of like a built-in best friend,” she said, adding playing with babies could be a way to help Brooklyn organically relearn some skills.
“We knew it would be a lot to tackle,” she said. “She’ll be a great big sister.”
Ashley Borthwick, who operates Shining Faces Childcare and Learning Centre in Bradford West Gwillimbury, where Brooklyn once attended, is running several fundraisers for the Mauca family.
A GoFundMe fundraiser has raised about $2,800 of a $10,000 goal.
It is the second GoFundMe fundraiser that has been done for the family. The first one raised about $33,000 for the family last year.
At that time, Borthwick organized grocery store till campaigns, where shoppers donated thousands of dollars to the family in the checkout line, and this is currently being done again at Zehrs in Bradford.
TD Canada Trust also donated money to the family last year, and Home Depot donated time and materials to build a wheelchair ramp.
As well, last year Borthwick raffled off a daycare spot worth more than $6,000 at Shining Faces, with all proceeds going to the Mauca family, and she is doing that again now.
Tickets are $20 each or three for $50. Contact 905-551-3050 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“She was amazing. It was heartbreaking (what happened),” Borthwick said. “You go from one totally normal, healthy child to this.”
Mauca gets teary when she thinks of all the support her family has received.
“It’s meant everything to have the support of the community,” she said.
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