9-year-old spreads cheer and brings hope to Winnie Palmer NICU - New York News

9-year-old spreads cheer and brings hope to Winnie Palmer NICU

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Wearing a Santa hat and a cute little red dress,  9-year-old Maya Tharoo pulled her wagon full of goodies up to the neonatal intensive care unit at Winnie Palmer Hospital. 

After scrubbing in, she went from room to room handing out packages with teddy bears to the premature babies and an envelope full of restaurant gift certificates for their parents. 

"Here is one for both of them," Maya told the mother of twins who were born at just over 2 pounds each. While the presents spread cheer, this smart beautiful little girl spreads hope.

"I just wanted to talk to you because I'm a premie too.  Now I'm nine years old and in 4th grade. I weighed 1 pound 4 ounces.  I was here for 110 days," Maya tells each set of parents she meets as she oogles over their tiny babies.

Maya is the youngest volunteer in the NICU. "Oh my God you're so big now," said one mom after meeting Maya.  She's been coming here twice a month to meet parents and tell her story since she was just 5. 

While the babies need time and medicine and help from machines to help them grow big and strong enough to go home, their parents need a different form of medicine, reassurance.

"When they see me and see that I'm OK, they know their babies will be OK too," said Maya. 

"Thank you so much. Can I hug you?" one premie's mom said to Maya as she was getting ready to walk to the next room. "Of course you can hug me. You're welcome and Merry Christmas" Maya answered. 
   
Maya got a family friend in Texas to donate the bears that she handed out.  Her father tells FOX 35 that while dining with her parents at some of her favorite restaurants over the last year, Maya asked the managers to donate gift cards in the baskets.

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