Mia Rose, the youngest daughter of April and Zach Jester, was diagnosed with cancer on February 27. The journey began in November when Mia and her family began making trips from their home in Surf City that would lead to doctors both near and far.


Mia Rose, the youngest daughter of April and Zach Jester, was diagnosed with cancer on February 27. The journey began in November when Mia and her family began making trips from their home in Surf City that would lead to doctors both near and far.



Instructed by her pediatrician, Mia began physical therapy when she was 10 months old to help with her developmental progression. After six months of therapy, Mia took her first steps in January. Despite her achievement, the pediatrician still felt that her overall development was behind considering her lack of speech and unexplained insomnia. Because of the pediatrician’s suspicion of autism or other social syndrome, Mia was referred to a neurologist.



The Greenville based neurologist easily ruled out the possibility of autism but performed genetic and chromosomal testing on Mia for further investigation. When all of these tests came back normal, the doctor performed an MRI on Mia. Results from the MRI revealed abnormalities on her brain and required additional testing.



Having found what appeared to be a mass on her brain, Mia was referred to a neurosurgeon at Duke. After having a second MRI and some speculation over the original mass, the neurosurgeon and his team of radiologist found another spot in the bones of Mia’s skull, not on the brain as original suspected. The family was immediately contacted and advised that Mia needed to be hospitalized as soon as possible for additional tests. The second mass raised the probability of cancer.



Two days of testing at Duke turned into 10 long days filled with worry and uncertainty for Mia and her family. Unfortunately, Mia’s diagnosis brought them no relief. At 17 months old, Mia was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma cancer. The cancer began in the adrenal glands above her left kidney and then spread to her skull and spine. 



Mia has begun her chemotherapy and other treatments. She will undergo very aggressive rounds of chemo every 21 days. The plan is for Mia to have 16 days at home and be admitted to the hospital five days for treatment. The family will be traveling between Surf City and Duke for Mia’s treatments. While at home Mia’s care will be administered by her parents, which includes daily shots to assist with boosting her white cell growth within the bone marrow. She will also receive twice weekly visits from a home health care nurse to monitor her blood counts. Following her third round of chemo, Mia will be rescanned to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments in reducing the size of the tumors. Currently eight rounds of chemo are included in the initial treatment plan. Radiation and surgeries will be in Mia’s future. Mia was airlifted to Duke last week following the initial round of chemo with an elevated temperature, which could signal infection. Her white count was extremely low and she required an emergency blood transfusion. Mia’s temperature must be monitored every 3 hours around the clock.



Mia’s diagnosis can be described as nothing less than a tragedy. Childhood cancer is a burden of many sorts, but none more than a burden of the heart. If you are able to help ease the family’s burden, an account at Bank of America in Surf City has been setup to assist the family with Mia’s medical care. Currently there are multiple fundraisers underway and more planned as the community is rallying support for young Mia. Contributions of all sorts are appreciated in times of tragedy, but none more than your time and prayer. For more information on “Miracle 4 Mia” contact Donna Smith at 910-620-1046 or donna@seashorerealtync.com or Mary Frances DeCarlo at 910-409-1621 or sassyfit2013@gmail.com.



 



Mia Rose Jester was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma cancer at age 17 months. Mia’s is the fifth Survivor Story of the 2013 Relay Season.



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The Relay For Life of Pender County Survivor Dinner will be held on April 27 beginning at 5 p.m. at Hampstead United Methodist Church, located on U.S. 17 in Hampstead. Melinda Knoerzer, an Ovarian Cancer survivor, will be the key speaker at the dinner.



Survivors are encouraged to sign up for the Relay’s Survivor Lap. To register, visit relayforlife.org/pendernc or contact Stephanie Ottaway at 910-470-3603 or shotopsail@gmail.com. Survivors are also invited to the dinner.