Tarik Warner is a freelance journalist who regularly covers good-news stories at Children’s National Hospital for local television. He says he’s witnessed “a real sense of altruism” through the lens of his video camera in his more than 20 years on the job.

When his daughter Maya had trouble breathing at 2 days old, he experienced that compassionate care first hand. Maya was diagnosed with a respiratory condition in which one of her lungs hadn’t fully developed. She spent three months in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

It was a stressful time. “Once Maya extubated her breathing tube and I watched her code,” Tarik recalls. “The whole team went into action to save her life. An orderly saw me falling apart, put me in a chair and held my hand. It was very grounding and helped me get through.”

Maya outgrew her condition, but connections to Children’s National remain strong. “While she was in the NICU, one of the doctors hooked us up with another family whose daughter had survived a similar situation,” Tarik says. “Meeting her made me believe my daughter would be OK. To this day, her father is one of my best friends.”

Maya turned 13 in early 2021 and visits Dr. Iman Sami — her pulmonologist from day one at Children’s National — every six months. “She’s on inhalers for asthma but her lungs are doing great,” he says. “Maya is an active kid who loves sports and art and gets straight A’s in school. Grateful is not a big enough word for how I feel about Children’s National. There’s no doubt that they saved Maya’s life.”

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

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A young patient at Children's National Hospital.