Owen Maier, a Miracle Child, was born with transposition of the great arteries, a heart condition his parents didn’t know he had until he was born. The pulmonary artery and aorta were formed incorrectly on the wrong side.
“You have a vision of how your baby is supposed to be born, especially with your first child being healthy, and suddenly they’re taking him away.”
Owen had open heart surgery when he was 2 weeks old. After 2 months at UF Health Shands, Owen went home for first time. He is almost 5 years old, hasn’t been inpatient since newborn, and now is monitored monthly.
“We became involved with DM when Owen was just over a year old, and the first year, we weren’t much of a part of anything. We really just showed up at the event. The second year, we learned more about what was going on. But last year, the true defining moment for me, as a mom of a child who has been sick—you guys always tell us how much we inspire you, but you don’t know how much you inspire us. You guys…are teaching my children philanthropy. I’ve always had that inside of me, that wanting to help others. I want to help in any way I can to help others. DM is showing my kids what life is all about—in my opinion, why I think we’re here. I am so in awe. You collect one penny at a time to this amazing organization that represents lives saved. Without what you guys have done, my son might not have had access to the equipment and the processes that saved his life. A friend has a daughter who just started at UF and was talking to me about how she can be involved, and I told him she had to be involved in DM. I said it’s a movement! If you don’t know about it, you should!”
“Our second year with DM, our FR captain was Jake, and with him, I became okay to let go and let people play with my kids. I felt that I could walk away for a second. We’re able to trust you guys with our most prized possessions—our children. I can have that relaxing moment, because to be honest, we never really get those moments. Our kids look forward to it. When I tell my kids we’re doing something with DM, they literally jump up and down. All I have to say is ‘DM’, and they’re ready to get in the car.”
– Rachel Banks