Meet Mia, your August Butterfly Buddy! Mia is six years old and the younger sister to her brother Aiden, who is 10 years old, and her sister Hannah, who is 9 years old. As the youngest child, Mia has no fear, is very outgoing, and runs the show at home and at school. She’s been known as the “Boss Baby” of her family since she was just a few months old. She loves to sing, cook, and most of all, she loves to create arts and crafts projects. When she was very young she used to say that she wanted to be a bunny when she grew up.
One weekend, when Mia was four-years-old, she started napping again - something she hadn’t been doing since she was much younger, because, being the youngest, she was always worried that she might be missing out on something fun that her siblings were doing. Mia’s mom, Nar, chalked up the out-of-the-ordinary naps to an active kid who was tired. But after Mia’s school called the following week to report that Mia was withdrawn and quiet around the other kids, and uninterested in arts and crafts projects, Nar decided to take her to the pediatrician.
Their usual pediatrician wasn’t there that day, but a nurse practitioner saw her and decided on a whim to check her blood. After a doctor returned, instead of the NP, and asked to do the test again, alarms started ringing for Nar. When the doctor came back and told her that she needed to go to the emergency room at Boston Children’s, instead of the hospital in town, Nar was sure that something was wrong.
It was April of 2021 when Mia was tested and diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). She was admitted right away and began induction chemotherapy, spending a month living at Boston Children’s with Nar. On May 20th, Mia got to go home, just before she turned five, and spent the remainder of her fifth year of life fighting cancer and going to out-patient treatment appointments three times per week.
“When we left the hospital, it was really tough. Mia would be walking, and then her legs would just give out, she'd fall, and then she wouldn't want to walk again. And then she’d see her friends playing and running around, and she'd feel defeated because she couldn’t do that anymore,” Nar explains. “I had to encourage her to keep going, even when she didn’t want to - it was a very difficult time.”
Although Mia has been through a lot in her life already, Nar believes that it has only made her stronger, explaining, “she has a very matter-of-fact attitude about all of it and she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks."
A prime example of this is when Mia had to switch up her injections multiple times due to allergies and supply issues. She was receiving injections three times per week, and she was very nauseous. The constant oral medication became harder to take. To make sure she was getting all the medication she needed, as well as keeping her hydrated, she had to get an NG tube inserted. When other kids inquired about the tube at school or on the playground, Mia didn’t get upset. She simply told them, “it’s for my medicine,” in her matter-of-fact way, and kept on playing.
Mia’s first experience with Lucy’s Love Bus was when she and her family went to Ironstone Farm and participated in therapeutic horseback riding. Nar remembers the day as a pivotal moment for the family because, between treatment and COVID, they hadn’t been able to participate in anything outside of their daily activities until then.
“It was something that took us outside of the treatment and cancer. I saw Mia smiling, and it reminded me that she can still be happy - she can still be a kid,” Nar said.
Thanks to Love Bus’ generous donors, Mia has since been able to take swim lessons, an activity she loves because her big brother and sister are on swim teams. Recently, Mia and Hannah also went to cooking camp together, giving the sisters an opportunity to bond and create delicious memories!
Nar is very thankful for the opportunities that Love Bus donors have given her family, telling us, “sometimes you're so blinded by what’s happening in the day-to-day that you can't even bring yourself to look ahead. Lucy’s Love Bus provides opportunities for families like us that make my kids feel normal. They help remind us that the best days are still ahead!”
Thank you for your continuous support which delivers comfort and quality of life to deserving children like Mia and her family!