July 17, 2017 – May 20, 2020
Diagnosed: October, 2019
Mia Grace Elizabeth Moore was born on July 17, 2017, to medical social worker and single mom, Michelle. Mia was a silly, happy, super-sassy little girl. Growing up with big brother Brendyn, she was not into frilly bows and ribbons. She’d much rather hang out with Brendyn, playing Legos and Minecraft. She loved all things Disney and Sesame Street, was amazingly sweet, but also very vocal about what she liked and didn’t like – especially with her brother.
In October of 2019, Mia began exhibiting very odd sleep behaviors, including what appeared to be strange nightmares. The doctor explained that Mia could possibly be experiencing night terrors. But as the weeks wore on, Michelle noticed that Mia was jerking and twitching in her sleep. She was diagnosed with restless leg syndrome, but when she began to laugh and cry out while sleeping, Michelle knew something else was very wrong.
After three visits to the ER with no resolution, Mia began experiencing excruciating headaches that brought her to her knees. Michelle could not stand watching her toddler endure so much pain; she demanded further testing be done.
While awaiting the results, Michelle’s mind started to go to dark places. But even as brain cancer entered her mind as a possibility of what was happening to Mia, terminal brain cancer never crossed her mind.
“After the CT scan revealed a mass, I was thinking surgery, chemo, radiation… I was not thinking certain death,” said Michelle. But then she heard the words Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) – the deadliest form of brain cancer.
“It was like a bomb dropped,” said Michelle. “My first thought was, ‘How am I going to tell my son his sister is going to die?’ The next day I remember waking up with Mia in my arms in the PICU, thinking this is not a dream. This is real. My baby is laying here miserable, and there’s nothing I can do to fix it.”
Within days, Mia started radiation and underwent 6 weeks of treatment under sedation. Her tumor began to shrink significantly, and Mia started to act like herself once again. Michelle was determined to live every day to its fullest, making the best kind of memories for both Mia and Brendyn.
In January of 2020, scans revealed that Mia’s tumor had grown significantly. Her symptoms resurged, and her bad days quickly began to outnumber her good days. At the same time, news of COVID-19 began to spread, creating additional stress. Michelle thought, “What if I get sick? Who will take care of my babies?”
Through it all, Michelle tried to stay positive, highlighting the good in each day. “I don’t really see myself as strong,” she said. “I’m just a mom who would do anything for my kids.”
As Mia’s struggle became more and more difficult, Michelle continued to do what she could to spread awareness of the monstrous disease that was taking her child away from her. She passionately chronicled Mia’s journey on social media as a way to document each and every moment as a family.
On May 20, 2020, just three days after DIPG Awareness Day, Mia gained her angel wings.
“Mia was the definition of a warrior,” said her godmother, Ashley Highsmith-Johnson. “The impact she left on the hearts of many will never fade.”
The ChadTough Foundation extends its deepest sympathy to Mia’s family as they transition to life without her. Please pray with us for this devastated family.
To learn more about Mia, please visit https://www.facebook.com/MiraclesForMiaGrace/