Mia in 2008.

A great appreciation

Mia has always been a girl on the go. She loved her swimming and dance classes. Everything changed one morning when Mia's grandmother noticed her eye looked swollen. Once a biopsy revealed it was cancer, Mia and her family were on their way to St. Jude.

Mia has always been an active girl. In May 2008, she was busy with school, swimming and dance classes. Then one day, everything changed. Mia’s grandmother noticed one morning her eye looked swollen. “We thought it was allergies,” recalled Mia’s dad, Malcolm.

By the afternoon, Mia’s eye was swollen so much it looked like it was protruding from its socket. Malcolm took Mia to the eye doctor, who sent them to the hospital, where an MRI revealed a tumor.  A biopsy confirmed it was cancer. Soon, Mia and her family were walking through the doors of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

At St. Jude, Mia was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive soft tissue cancer. Her treatment included chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Mia age 9

Mia, at age 9 during treatment

Mia, age 18

Mia, today, at age 18

Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since we opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90%, and we won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

After finishing treatment in 2009, Mia returned to St. Jude for regular checkups and eventually became a part of the St. Jude ACT Clinic. Mia’s family continues to be thankful for St. Jude. “St. Jude saved my daughter’s life,” Malcolm said. “For that I owe them a great appreciation. As far as I’m concerned, they work miracles.”

St. Jude patient Mia

Mia recently started college, where she is majoring in marine biology. She’s a videographer for her college’s football team, so she keeps busy with a full schedule of classes and travel. 

 

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