For the third year in a row, students of Benjamin Banneker Elementary School joined together on Saturday, May 23 to hold a community lemonade stand to support the school’s Tatyana May Scholarship that was created to honor one of their classmates after she passed away two year’s ago due to cardiac arrest.
Born in 2005, Tatyana was born with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a rare congenital heart defect in which the left ventricle of the heart is severely underdeveloped. She was also diagnosed with Protein-losing enteropathy, which led to the decrease in the amount of protein her body produced, leading to the deterioration of vital organs.
Tatyana’s family, her father JT and mother Chantelle, were restationed from Washington state to Dover Air Force Base with the United States Air Force in the fall of 2011. As they began to look for housing, they fell in love with the Milford area and would be thankful for that decision as the family was embraced by the Milford School District and the Milford community through very difficult times. Attending Morris Early Childhood Center for Kindergarten and Benjamin Banneker Elementary, Tatyana was well known throughout the Milford School District. She touched the lives of fellow students, teacher, administrators and the nurses that she interacted with daily.
In February of 2013, Tatyana was placed on Home Bound Care as her medical condition made it necessary for her to be connected to a pump that continuously fed her medicine. Technology allowed her to continue her school studies through Skype, software that allows an individual to video conference with other individuals from anywhere in the world. Through Tatyana’s monitor she could join the class during reading time and even took spelling tests with her classmates from her bed at home.
Tatyana was listed on the heart transplant list and received a new heart on Tuesday, June 18. On the way back to her hospital bed from the operating room, Tatyana went into cardiac arrest and was without oxygen to her brain for fifteen minutes. Tatyana May was pronounced dead on June 20,2013. Affecting many lives in the Milford community, a ceremony was held on August 3, 2013 to celebrate Tatyana’s impact on her fellow students, teachers and community members. In addition, a scholarship was set up by students and teachers at Milford School District as a way to continue Tatyana’s legacy in Milford.
Will Evans, a Benjamin Banneker student and friend of Tatyana, helped to organize the lemonade stand this Saturday, the second of its kind since Tatyana’s death. Families with students that knew Tatyana and her family visited the stand to donate to the Tatyana Scholarship Fund.
“The first year was to help the doctors to figure out what to do with her heart but now it is for the scholarship to remember her,” commented Will. “It is for a boy or girl that wants to play soccer or ballet because that is what she liked to do.” Money raised through the scholarship also helped to purchase toys for children in the waiting room at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“Now the scholarship is in her memory and it also helps others that cannot pay for soccer or ballet,” said Will.
The Tatyana May Scholarship will provide an annual scholarship to a youth that would like to pursue ballet or dance or be used as a scholarship when the class of 2024 graduates, the year in which Tatyana would have finished her secondary education career. Friends of the May family are encouraged to contact Mr. Evans at the Milford High School for additional information.