Why I Give: Samantha Del Maestro

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Why I Give: Samantha Farina During my 20-week scan while pregnant with my second daughter, Blake, we learned that she had a sizable mass on her right lung, called congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation (pulmonary airway malformation) (CCAM/CPAM), and it was displacing her heart while affecting her lung development. It was extremely shocking, but our doctor didn’t hesitate in saying, “You’re going to CHOP because they are the best in the world for this.”

The miracle workers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia quickly arranged a full day of meetings with counselors and specialists as well as extensive testing. It was overwhelming but also comforting because they offered so much care and detail in their explanations.

Unfortunately, we received news that no parent wants to hear: Blake's mass was causing the beginning stages of heart failure, jeopardizing her life. The CHOP team quickly created a plan for Blake, and while the road was long and unpredictable, we were confident it was all being handled with the utmost care.

Blake was born kicking and screaming, lungs filled with air. It felt like we all could finally breathe, but while in the NICU her oxygen and heart rate kept plummeting. The doctors decided to perform surgery at 10 days old, removing the lower lobe of her right lung. Our strong girl came off her ventilator and had her chest tube removed in record time.

Two weeks later, we brought Blake home with us, finally becoming a family of four. There is not a sleepless night, diaper blowout, dirty bottle or messy room that can take away our joy.

Throughout the process, our family and friends rallied by starting meal trains, offering rides and raising money to help. We knew the only use of those donations was to pay it back to CHOP. So, we added to the contribution and gave it all to CHOP’s Children’s Fund because it supports the areas with the most need.

So many amazing people were brought into our lives — caregivers, Child Life specialists and other families. We wanted to help others because we are so grateful for the compassionate, expert care we received.

My child had CCAM/CPAM, but no matter what the diagnosis is, the hurt and the emotions are all the same for the families at CHOP. The Children’s Fund support we were able to give will help provide for all that goes into caring for patients and families.

Donate to the Children’s Fund.