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Grieving parents set up a charity in memory of baby daughter Maia

Parents Gemma and Joe found Maia Mouse Foundation so sick children can enjoy their final weeks

Gemma and Joe Baum with their daughter Maia(Image: Maia Mouse Foundation)

Grieving parents have set up a children’s charity in memory of their baby daughter Maia Olivia Baum who died from a rare form of cancer.

Joe and Gemma Baum have set up the Maia Mouse Foundation to provide financial support for parents with terminally ill children.

Despite a healthy birth Maia was diagnosed with cancer of the central nervous system in January 2016.

She died four months later aged just 11 months.

Although devastated at the time of Maia’s diagnosis, the Meltham couple set up a bucket list of things to do before their daughter passed away.

Launch of the Maia Mouse Foundation. Maia Olivia

Maia and her family and friends enjoyed trips to the seaside, a party, swimming, a christening, visiting a farm, riding on a train, walking part of the Pennine Way and visiting Buckingham Palace and Downing Street.

Joe and Gemma hope their charity will enable children in similar situations to fulfil some of their dreams during their all-too-short lives.

Gemma, 32, said: “As hard as it was we had to put our own pain to one side in order to care for Maia and give her the best that we could.

“There was so little we could do about her illness but what we certainly could control was her happiness.

“I’m confident Maia only ever knew love in her short life.”

Joe, 32, added: “There was so much that our little girl would never get to do so we started by writing a list of all the things that we really wanted her to experience.

“Maia’s adventures were simply amazing, we had so much sadness in our lives but at the same time we were having some of the best days of our lives with her.

Launch of the Maia Mouse Foundation. Maia Olivia with her parents Joe and Gemma Baum

“We have a lifetime of memories which we will cherish forever.”

The newly-established Maia Mouse Foundation will provide grants for families of children living with life-limiting conditions to allow them to enjoy trips and experiences they may not have the opportunity to do otherwise.

Gemma and Joe said that one difficulty with looking after a sick child was the constant worry about work and money.

Joe said: “In a sense we were lucky because we could make these memories, taking the time off work to share experiences with our beloved Maia. Not everybody has this opportunity, and as your whole world crumbles everything around you continues, from work, to mortgages and beyond.

Launch of the Maia Mouse Foundation. Maia Olivia with her mum Gemma Baum

“We have got a lot of comfort from setting up the charity and we want it to become a lasting legacy of our beautiful daughter.”

The Maia Mouse Foundation will be officially launched on Sunday, April 30 (11am) with a sponsored walk, called Maia’s Memory Walk in Hawes, North Yorkshire.

For details visit www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/maiamouse-foundation/maiasmemorywalk .

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