This weekend, KAREAI Society Arahoviton Chicago will host a fundraiser for Maria Vastis Chamberlan. The Gala of Inspiration will raise money to help defray her medical expenses, as she recovers from an aneurysm.
Born and raised in the Chicago area, Maria, 30,was always very artistic. “She was always drawing,” her mother, Athena said. For a time she also performed with the Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society.
Maria earned her degree in art graphic design. An imaginative and enthusiastic artist, her career took off quickly. Not long after graduation, she snared a coveted position with Target Corporation that took her to Vietnam for three months. Then she went to work designing for Crate and Barrel, in their corporate office in Northbrook, Ill.
After five years, Maria took a position as art director for Sapient, a Chicago-based global integrated marketing agency. Shortly thereafter, in 2009 she was elected president of the KAREAI Society Arahoviton Chicago.
Maria began having headaches, and went for testing, which only revealed that her platelets were on the low side. On the evening of November 16, 2010, she went to the home of a trusted friend – ironically a trauma surgeon – to get his opinion. Maria collapsed. As fate would have it, her choice of company for the evening would save her life; had she been home or anywhere else, she more than likely would have died. Able to act fast and think on his feet, her friend was able to monitor her breathing and instruct paramedics accordingly.
Doctors said Maria suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. It it wasn’t catastrophic, and was unrelated to the headaches. Since then, she has endured three surgeries. An MRI ultimately determined that an aneurysm was the cause.
Soon after, Maria moved her hand. Then, one night, her mother cradled her arms and said to her,”‘S’agapo. I’m with you. Christ is with you. He will help you.” Maria responded, “Kai ego s’agapo!” Maria continues to speak clearly in both Greek and English, a most-promising sign.
On May 21, Maria went home, and is cared for by her mother. Therapists come to the house for rehab. Since then, she’s made some very promising progress.
Her doctors call her recovery “remarkable.” Maria does have considerable damage, but they insist that it will just take time, and since she is so young, time is on her side.