Mia A and Family

December 14, 2022

Patient Experience: Mia’s Story

The following is Mia’s story, as told to us by her mother Elizabeth. 

“I am sorry. Your child has cancer,” is what the doctor told us in May 2021 when Mia, our seven year old daughter, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

The sentence started with the apology and the words cut deep, sending shivers up my spine even one year later. 

Mia was losing weight. Her skin was pale, and she had bruising on her shins. I took her to the doctor thinking she was lacking a vitamin, rest, or was going through a growth spurt. I was wrong. 

We went to her pediatrician on a Wednesday and were told Mia was fine, but we got blood work just to be sure. On Thursday around 5 AM my phone rang. It was Mia’s pediatrician. We were told to take her to the Emergency Room tight away. I was trying to hold onto hope, but my heart was breaking. 

When we arrive at the ER, we were moved to the pediatric oncology floor. Time felt slow and fast at the same time. From one day to another my daughter endured procedures and treatment. they placed a port-a-cath in her chest. Immediately she was given intravenous fluids and then chemo. Her wonderful oncologist continued to give us hope but to prepare for two difficult years. 

At the time, I was an elementary school teacher, and my husband was in between jobs. He had taken a month off to get tasks done around the house and take a break. We had planned for his time off and thought it wasn’t a big deal but, again, we were wrong. 

The company for which he previously worked for, supplied us with insurance. The new company’s insurance wouldn’t go into effect until June so in May, we had no insurance and did not qualify for Medicaid. Not only that but I had quit my job. 

The first month, with the help of family and friends, we were able to cover the cost of cancer treatment which was tens of thousands of dollars. Bills from the clinic, ER visits, hospital stays, chemotherapy, and more. We felt in over our heads when it came to finances, but Mia was getting her treatments and I could feel her coming back to me a little at a time. 

Six months into treatment, after the initial shock wore off, I got proactive in finding financial support for the family to cover the medical expenses. I was never one to ask for help, but I knew for the sake of our family I had to act. That’s when I found Children’s Leukemia Research Association (CLRA).

I applied for assistance and figured the worst that can happen is that we would be denied. There was nothing to lose, and much to gain. 

Thankfully, we received the financial assistance from CLRA. We were able to focus on our bills, mortgage, car payments, groceries, etc., knowing we had help for medical bills. 

No one likes to ask for help, but to know that there are people, complete strangers, who want to help families like ours, gives me so much hope for humanity. I can’t wait for the day my daughter is done with treatment, for the day that my husband and I are able to pay it forward to families like ours. 

A year into treatment, Mia is in maintenance and is thriving. I’m so grateful to the nurses, doctors and God for covering her and helping her return to health. We are forever grateful to you all that have raised the funds to help families like ours in need. 

Thank you for this gift of hope and help.

Mia, Mom, Dad, Family & Friends

On behalf of the team at CLRA, thank YOU for sharing your story. 

If you are an adult or child with blood cancer, please visit our Patient Aid Program to learn more about financial support for eligible medical expenses.