Hamden Cheerleader Uses Personal Fight to Help Others

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NBC Connecticut first introduced you to 11-year-old Maya DiMauro last December.

The Hamden cheerleader was getting ready for a trip to cheerleading nationals, somewhat improbably. Earlier in the year, Maya had gone temporarily blind. The fifth grader has a rare autoimmune disorder, called MOG-Ab, which manifested in her optic nerve, and over the past year she's been undergoing treatments that require long hours hooked to an IV.

So, she came up with a solution to make it more comfortable, inventing the "survIVe," a pillow that makes getting IV treatments more comfortable, especially for pediatric patients. She entered it in the nation-wide competition “Invention Convention”. Not only did she compete against nearly 550 K-12 inventors, she earned third place for fifth graders and was awarded one of eight patents.

But the most rewarding is seeing that there are other young patients who want to use her invention.

“It was cool to have someone just order my invention right in front of me,” Dimauro said of the reaction when she first brought her invention to one of her treatments. “It showed me that my invention is actually helping people out.”

“This is a personal invention for her,” said Margaret DiMauro, Maya’s mom. “Not only to help herself at treatments but really to make the experience for other kids more comfortable and less scary. That was the phrase that she kept using over and over.”

Maya might not have to use her invention much longer. Her mom said they’re awaiting final word from her doctors, but she may have had her very last treatment.

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