A strong willed, determined and loving little girl, Mia loves nothing more than playing and interacting with others.
In May 2016, she was diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma when she was 4 years old. Since then, she’s been through a multitude of aggressive treatments and procedures including 3 months of intensive chemotherapy, surgery, a stem cell transplant, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.
When Mia’s frontline treatment came to an end in the UK in July 2017, her family – in the knowledge of high relapse rates – launched a fundraising campaign with Solving Kids’ Cancer to pay for Mia to access additional therapy through a clinical trial in America aimed at helping keep her free from cancer.
Thanks to the incredible community support they received, they raised what they needed and in August 2017, flew to Michigan for Mia to access the first round of the DFMO clinical trial at Helen DeVos Children’s’ Hospital.
Josh and Kirsty, Mia’s parents, say, “We’ll never be able to thank everyone enough. You have all helped us to get something that we never thought possible.”
In April 2016, Mia, along with several of her class mates, had become unwell. On the advice of their local GP, Mum and Dad, Josh and Kirsty, made sure Mia’s fluids were replenished after vomiting. Two weeks later, Mia’s symptoms had eased and she seemed back to herself and well enough to return to school.
Whilst Mia showed signs of fatigue, her parents put this down to her body still recovering from the sickness. Then on 3rd May, Kirsty felt a lump in Mia’s tummy. Following a doctor’s examination, the family were admitted to their local hospital for tests and x rays to find out more about the lump. To Kirsty and Josh’s horror, the tests confirmed that the lump was cancer.
The events that followed are a blur to the family. Mia was transferred to Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital in Cardiff for more tests to determine the type of cancer and its staging. On 11th May, doctors were able to confirm that Mia had stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma.
Neuroblastoma is a particularly aggressive childhood cancer and the most common cancer outside the brain in children under 5 years of age. In most cases, it is only diagnosed once it has already progressed to a late ‘high risk’ stage, like in Mia’s case.
Mia’s primary tumour was attached to her right adrenal gland and she had metastasis in her ovary and 3 spots on her liver. To try and get rid of the tumour and bring Mia back into remission, she started an aggressive course of treatment.
Following 3 months of induction chemotherapy, the 3 spots on Mia’s liver had gone and the primary tumour and disease in her ovary had shrunk by 50%. While surgery to remove the remaining tumours resulted in Mia losing her kidney and ovary, she now showed no evidence of disease. Josh and Kirsty were so pleased.
3 weeks later, Mia had high dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. It was following this that doctors discovered that adhesions had formed around the stomach where the tumour had been resected, which meant that Mia was unable to tolerate any oral consumption and needed more surgery.
Josh says “Mia took this all in her stride and within 10 days was ready to start radiotherapy.”
Having responded extremely well throughout all of her treatments, Mia is known on the ward as the warrior princess and Kirsty says, “I am in awe of her strength and courage every day.”
Mia’s fundraising campaign
High-risk neuroblastoma has a high rate of relapse, and the survival rate for relapsed neuroblastoma is very low. Relapsed neuroblastoma is particularly challenging to treat and there are limited options to treat it; all of which exist in the form of clinical trials in the UK and oversees. Many families, just like Mia’s, will choose for their child to access a clinical trial, in the hope it will help prevent a dangerous relapse, or, to get their child back in to remission.
Accessing a clinical trial oversees is not NHS funded and can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. Supporting Mia’s fundraising campaign will help to ensure that, if Mia’s family choose for her to access a clinical trial abroad for additional cancer therapy, they are able to realise these aspirations for their little girl.
How you can help
There are many ways you can help Mia; by making a personal donation; holding a fundraiser; getting sponsored to take on a challenge; or simply following and sharing Mia’s story through her Facebook page.
Download our free Mia resources (below) to support your fundraising, and click here for even more resources, including fundraising ideas, templates and guidance.
You can make a donation via this page, or if you’d prefer to text donate, text MIAC86 and your amount £1 – £10 to 70070. If you’d like help supporting Mia’s campaign, please get in touch with the fundraising team on 0207 284 0800 | email@example.com