Nick’s Picks V.I.P: Maren Grace Foster
To kick off 2018 we are very proud to introduce our first Nick’s Picks V.I.P. of the year, Maren Grace Foster, 4 years old, from Barboursville, WV.
Maren was born with the same disease that I was, biliary atresia, and underwent a transplant at only 8 months. Her infectious smile, and the generosity of spirit she and her family have shown are but two of the reasons we chose her for V.I.P. With no further delay, please meet Maren!
Name: Maren Grace Foster
Location: Barboursville, WV.
Maren’s Story: As told by Travis Foster (Maren’s Father)
Maren came into the world 7 weeks early on June 24th, 2013. She spent 16 days in the NICU and weighing only 3lbs. 9oz was healthy, but tiny.
When Maren came home she seemed well, but was still jaundiced. This was attributed to her premature birth, and everyone thought it would resolve. Some days were better than others, but the jaundice never went away.
When Maren was 5 months old we were referred to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and received the diagnosis of Biliary Atresia. For the next couple of months, Maren went through testing and the evaluation to be listed for transplant. On February 25th, 2014 we received “The Call” and were off to Cincinnati. She was 8 months old and 10 lbs. on the day of her transplant.
After transplant, Maren spent 4 weeks in the PICU. It seemed like an eternity! She spent another couple of weeks on the transplant floor and then was discharged to stay with us at the Ronald McDonald House for an additional two weeks. When we were released to come home, it was like bringing home a new kid. She was all smiles!
Over the first 2 years, Maren had several hospital admissions for different things but always bounced back stronger than she was before admission. We have been fortunate enough to find and meet her donor family, the Guerra’s from Indianapolis. Maren’s donor was a young boy, Fuentes Guerra, who passed away from a house fire that also took the life of his mother, father, and three siblings. I can’t say enough what a wonderful family the Guerra’s are for making the decision to Donate Life! There is not a day that goes by that they are not in our thoughts and prayers.
Maren loves playing with her big brother, Jackson. Nobody can make her laugh like Jackson! She is in her second year
of dance class and started her first year of preschool in August. She loves our pets, Max (cat), Marti (dog), and Goldie (goldfish). Maren is very outgoing and talks to everyone! I say she is 4 years old, going on 16 years old!
Maren’s Favorite Backpack Item:
Maren loves all the items in the backpack, but I would say her favorite is the “NO” button. We have had to hide it several times, but she always ends up finding it! She loves the book also because she loves for us to read any kind of book to her.
Maren’s Relationship with Nick:
During Maren’s journey, I searched for inspiring stories from kids that had Biliary Atresia and / or were transplanted. I came across an article about Nick’s Picks and started following on social media and was amazed at what Nick and his family were doing to help other kids that were sick and in the hospital. I reached out to Nick’s Picks to let them know what a wonderful thing they were doing and that I hoped as Maren got older she too could do something to help out. We were proud to nominate Nick’s Picks for a $1000 Allstate Helping Hands Grant, which they received. And we were thrilled to connected their organization with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The Allstate grant provided twenty Nick’s Picks approved backpacks for the kids at Cincinnati Children’s. They have since provided additional backpacks. Maren was asked to be an ambassador to Cincinnati Children’s and act as Nick’s Picks “little distributor” for the backpacks.
I want to give Nick’s Picks a huge THANK YOU for everything you have done and continue to do! I hope that someday as Maren gets older, she can help people out in the way that you have! Keep up the great work!