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4-year-old cancer survivor will celebrate her first Christmas at home in Willowick

Posted at 6:05 PM, Dec 22, 2017

It truly is the "most wonderful time of the year" for a family in Willowick. The past four years have been extremely heartbreaking and trying, to say the least. But this Christmas, they are counting their blessings. 
 
This Christmas is going to be extra special for Maja and her family. 
 
"It's like an overwhelming joy that not really a lot of people understand," explained Maja's mom, Jaime Murphy. 
 
When Maja was just three months old, she was diagnosed with infant leukemia. 
 
"It was pretty heartbreaking," Murphy recalled. 
 
Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital became Maja's home. She went through aggressive chemo and dozens of surgeries, and suffered multiple setbacks and a relapse. 
 
"She was on the door of death many times," noted Dr. Rabi Hanna of Cleveland Clinic Children's. 
 
"We were told almost every day for like a month to prepare for the worst and not expect to make it to morning," Murphy added. 
 
Maja's illness meant she experienced every milestone -- and celebrated every holiday -- within hospital walls. 
 
"Last year, my tummy was hurting and my Poppa took me back to the hospital," Maja explained. 

This year is different. At four years old, Maja is now cancer free. 
 
"Christmas at home," smiled Murphy. "I've never been more excited in my life." 
 
It will be her Maja's first Christmas at home. 
 
"Just seeing her come down the steps on Christmas morning, like what every parent dreams of," Murphy said, anticipating the Holiday ahead. "Their face light up. I just can't wait to see that." 
 
Maja's doctors call her an inspiration and say her story fills them with hope. 
 
"All the team is so excited for Maja," said Dr. Hanna. "We cannot wait to see the pictures at home. It makes our hearts smile whenever we see our kids able to achieve one of their wishes." 
 
"I like to open my presents and I like to play with my toys," Maja said.

Maja's mom says me they have done every Christmas-related thing possible this year. They went caroling and ice skating, saw the lights in downtown Cleveland and baked cookies to deliver to kids in the hospital who won't get to make it home this year.