During her second birthday party at home in Bundaberg, Mia’s legs hurt too much for her to run around or even stand up for long. Her parents Ryan and Rhianne knew something was wrong so they took Mia to their local doctor.
A few days later, after x-rays and scans and blood tests, they received the devastating news that their little girl had cancer – acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
“We felt a chill come over us,” remembers Mia’s dad Ryan. “We thought, ‘what’s this about?’”
Their doctor told them that Mia needed to start treatment straight away at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. The next day, like so many other families in Queensland with sick kids, Ryan and Rhianne packed their things and started the long drive to Brisbane with Mia to start getting her well.
Mia has since endured multiple surgeries including numerous lumbar punctures, and has been very sick many times due to the chemotherapy she needs.
Without this treatment, Mia’s white blood cells would have continued dividing out of control until they filled up her bone marrow. If that happened, her bone marrow couldn’t do the vital job it needs to – making red blood cells to carry oxygen around her body.
Mia has been through some difficult procedures and the Children’s Hospital Foundation’s research into childhood cancer has been crucial to helping her in her fight.
Thanks to research into childhood cancer, doctors at the children’s hospital can now accurately measure how many cancer cells are in Mia’s blood at each stage of her treatment. This became vital knowledge for Mia’s doctors when, after just eight days of chemotherapy, her blood test showed she needed more intensive treatment.
This adjustment to Mia’s treatment is now making a big difference to her recovery. If this hadn’t been detected by doctors early, Mia may have deteriorated further, putting her health and recovery at far greater risk.
During her long hospital stay, Mia enjoyed music therapy, a service funded by the Children’s Hospital Foundation used for distraction and play during treatments. Mia is also part of the Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Bravery Beads program and collects a special bead for every painful needle, chemotherapy treatment and tough day.
Think about all that Mia has endured so far – she has many, many Bravery Beads and is a very brave little girl.