The Aniya N. Smith Scholarship 

This is Aniya's story, as shared by her mother.

My name is Brandi Boyd.  I have been a CNA since 2003 and I currently work the Cardiac and Telemetry Units in a hospital.  In July 2012, I found out I was pregnant with my second child. I went to all my regular doctor’s appointments and everything was going well. On the night of November 10, 2012 I thought I was having heartburn so I took some over-the-counter medication but the pain continued to get worse.  I called my Mother and she took me to the local hospital.  By the time we arrived at the hospital, the pain was so severe that I could not walk or even stand.  When we made our way into the ER doors, I noticed the lady at the desk was someone I knew personally.  Her name is Tokeshia Simpson.  She checked us in right away and notified the Labor and Delivery Unit that we would be coming up very soon.  There was a team of doctors waiting when we arrived.  They asked questions, drew labs, and contacted my doctor.  Once we were checked in and settled, the doctors came back to the room to explain to us that I had protein in my urine and possibly could have H.E.L.P.  H - Hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells) EL- elevated liver enzymes (liver function) LP - low platelets counts (platelets help the blood clot).  At that point, I was told that my baby and I were at risk for life threatening complications.  They told me to pray hard and get ready because my baby would be born at 25 weeks.


I was then rushed to a larger hospital where there was a team of doctors waiting on me.  I was very scared and all I could think about was my other daughter at home who needed me.  I learned that the burning feeling I was having was my liver lacking acids and that kidneys were shutting down, therefore I needed to deliver the baby in order to save both our lives.  I had an ultrasound done that showed the baby weighed approximately 2 pounds.  The plan was to give me steroid shots that would help my baby’s lungs develop and to schedule a C-section for Wednesday @ 10:00 AM.  I began to learn what would happen after she was born, what she would look like, and possible health problems she could have. As long as the burning feeling didn’t come back, she could stay in until the scheduled C-section, but later that Tuesday night around 2:00 AM, the burning feeling came back. I notified the nurse immediately and they drew more lab work which revealed that liver was about to explode and kill me.  I was told to inform my family that in order to save me and the baby, we were going to the O.R. at that moment.  The next thing I remember, my Dad was standing over me telling me I had a baby girl. T he doctors soon came next, explaining that she only weighed 1 lb. 2.4 oz. and that she was on a ventilator and it was breathing for her.  They told me she would not make it and that my health was still in danger.  My blood pressure was elevated, my liver function was still off, my kidneys weren’t functioning properly and I had lost a lot of blood. I ended up needing 3 blood transfusions and stayed in the hospital for 3 weeks. When the day came for me to be discharged, I had to go home without my baby girl, who I named Aniya Ny’London Smith.


Aniya had to stay in the NICU for the next 6 months, had 11 surgeries, had a feeding tube and needed a trach so that she was able to breath.  She was cared for by a team of doctors and nurses in the NICU.  She had her own personal nurse by the name of Mandy Allen who had been a NICU Nurse for over 20 years and did an awesome job taking care of my baby.  Aniya weighed 8 lbs. when she came home from the hospital.  My family and I were trained on how to care for her trach and feeding tube.  Once she got home, I had a team of trained nurses that came out six days a week and a trained Respiratory Therapist by the name of Yashika Coats who came to the house three to four times a week and also met us at doctor appointments. 


In August of 2014, Aniya had her final surgery to prepare her airway in order to have the trach removed.  The surgery was preformed by Dr. Alexander, her ENT, who is a wonderful doctor.  It took six hours and she stayed in the hospital for about two weeks after the procedure.  She was able to come home around August 25th and she was doing well.  She continued to heal and grow and the plan was for her trach and feeding tube to be removed on September 16, 2014 and for us to live a normal life. 


Aniya did not make it to September 16th.  She passed away on September 2, 2014 at home during the night of a heart attack.  That day forever changed my life!  She was 2 years old when she passed and did not have any heart problems at birth.  The doctors think the stress of surgery could have caused her to have a heart attack. 


I hope my story can touch your heart and soul as you start your journey in the healthcare field.  My personal story is one of the reasons I stay in this field. I stay in the healthcare field because I can relate to both sides as being a patient and caregiver.