Losing your appetite. Enduring back and leg pain, harsh skin reactions and lumbar punctures. Watching your hair falling out. It’s all a daily reality for 8-year-old Mia.
“Mia was just a normal kid,” said Teresa, Mia’s mother. “Extremely active and loved to be outside. Loves the water. She’s obsessed with animals and wants to be a veterinarian.”
Mia’s normal life came to a halt on New Year’s Day of 2021, when doctors diagnosed her with leukemia.
“It wasn’t a very happy new year for us,” said Teresa.
Days before, Teresa recalls Mia had unusual bruising on her legs and abnormal nose bleeds that would take a while to resolve. The family soon realized she needed to go to the emergency room.
“That’s where they let us know she had leukemia,” said Teresa.
Mia needed a blood transfusion right away because she was bleeding so much from the nose bleeds.
She has been battling leukemia since January by going through several rounds of chemotherapy, which causes Mia to lose her appetite.
“To get creative we have to make a lot of fast food runs whenever she thought she could eat, but many times she stares at it and doesn’t want it anymore,” her mother said.
Chemo has also made her hair fall out.
“She’s hanging on to little strands right now. It does bother her when she sees the hair on her pillowcase in the morning,” says Teresa.
Since her first diagnosis, Mia has had multiple transfusions including platelets, red blood cells and more. Teresa says blood donations have helped her continue treatment.
“Once she gets the blood transfusions, she is back to her normal self. She eats better, she’s hungry again. It gives her energy to spend time in the pool with her siblings. She might chase the dog around. It’s real nice to see that change,” says Teresa.
To make sure no patient has to wait for a blood transfusion, Teresa and her family have made it a mission to host blood drives and encourage others to donate.
“We’re doing this blood drive because we understand how vital it is for her life and other patients,” said Teresa. “People ask what they can do, and this is what they can do for us: Donate blood.”