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Mia is a 6 year old that has more personality then most adults her parents know. She's naturally funny and makes them laugh every day. She loves to dance, sing and play with her sister.
Her path to diagnosis first started when her family went to Boston to celebrate her fifth birthday. Her mom noticed she was more tired than usual but chalked it up to all the walking around the city. On the second day, she was complaining her foot hurt but her parents thought she might just have sprained it. A few days later, at Mia's 5 year old check-up, the pediatrician looked at her foot and confirmed nothing was wrong.
They also requested allergy testing since Mia was waking up with swollen eyes every couple of days. The pediatrician called with the blood test results and said she wasn't allergic to anything, but her hemoglobin was low and so they should follow up in a few weeks. On Mother's Day weekend that year, Mia was completely exhausted and refused to walk because her foot hurt so much. They took her to the doctor that Monday and again he didn't see anything wrong with her foot but rechecked her blood. Her hemoglobin was still low so the doctor referred them to a hematologist and more blood tests followed.
The following weekend was Mia’s older sister’s communion, but Mia wasn't acting like herself. The hematologist called with the blood test results and said Mia’s neutrophil count was very low and at high risk for infection. If she spiked a fever, they were to bring her to the ER immediately. Sure enough, at her sister’s party she had a fever and they left a house full of people and rushed her to the ER. She was admitted that evening and diagnosed a few days later. They ended up spending a month at the children's hospital.
Mia started the maintenance phase of her treatment in January, which consists of outpatient treatment once a month with oral chemo daily at home. It's expected to be completed in August 2019.
In March, Mia was finally able to start school and with her tutor, teacher and school administrators, the transition was seamless. Mia was so excited to have a birthday party this year with all of her new school friends. She even got to go on a beach getaway during Memorial Day weekend after having to miss it due to her diagnosis in 2017.
They hope that Mia recovers quickly and this is a distant memory soon. They want her to have a wonderful childhood and with no long-term effects from the chemo so she will grow up to be a successful, kind and caring woman.
Mia has been so strong through this whole ordeal, stronger than her mom could ever be. She's handling this all in stride and acts like a normal kid most days.
They want to let others know that this journey can make you feel like your world is crumbling but eventually you'll find your footing. There's a lot of information thrown at you in the beginning and it’s hard to sort it all out, especially when your mind is racing with all of the “what if…” and worst case scenarios. Now that Mia is back at her home, it has been easier but there's still a long road ahead of them.
For them, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation represents the hope that a cure is found so that no child has to go through cancer treatment.
Information provided by Melissa Bento, Mia’s mom
Updated May 2018
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