Maryssa Inspires Mission to Help Others

Mitch and Mindy welcomed Maryssa and her twin sister Malinah into the world early—at just 29 weeks. Both girls were born tiny and frail, but Maryssa also had a serious heart condition—she would have to fight for her life.

Worried about their tiny baby girls, Mitch and Mindy wanted to ensure that Maryssa received the best possible care. That’s why they came to us from their home in Cleveland. Our experts diagnosed her with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) in addition to her transposition of the greater arteries (TGA).

HLHS is a condition where the heart is underdeveloped and restricts the flow of blood, which can be fatal. And sadly, it took Maryssa when she was just 2 years old.

“I’ll never forget the day when our doctors told us she wasn’t going to make it. We came out from that little room feeling completely devastated, then walking into the hustle and bustle of a busy intensive care unit waiting area was so jarring,” Mindy remembers. “It’s been six years, but that feeling has stuck with me.”

Inspired to help other families facing the unthinkable, these grieving parents turned their heartache into action. They established the Maryssa’s Mission Foundation which helps families travelling to Cincinnati Children’s and other pediatric hospitals with temporary lodging, money for gas and food and other items to take some of their stress away. Their goal is to “be the blessing they prayed to receive.”

Maryssa's family (pictured) hopes to "be the blessing they prayed to receive."

And when Mitch and Mindy learned about our new Critical Care Building, they were eager to expand Maryssa’s legacy. Their foundation made their biggest philanthropic investment to date to name the family lounge in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) in her honor.

The room is a place where families can be alone, reflect and gather for a meal during their greatest time of need.

“We’re so excited to see this family lounge become a reality,” Mitch says. “The location couldn’t be more perfect. You can see the bridge that connects the old CICU to the new one, and we think that’s just perfect. To us, that bridge represents where Maryssa’s journey ends and her mission begins.”

Though Maryssa’s time on earth was too short, her legacy and the love she shared will continue to live on through the many people who’ve been touched by her story. And now, even more families will receive the compassion and care they need thanks to those who continue to love, honor and support her foundation.

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