We hope that this letter finds you and your families well during this Christmas period.
We wanted to update you on our beautiful daughter Mia Wilkinson and to thank you for your support this year. You are making a massive difference in our lives and we will be forever grateful. Your generosity has helped our bright young girl in so many ways.
What a difference a year makes. On December 19, 2017, we had heavy hearts and were unsure what awaited Mia on the day that she left hospital. Mia was very weak, unable to eat food and we were desperately hoping that her knees could be saved. But we can never underestimate Mia. On that same day she left hospital, Mia asked to be taken to see the Christmas lights. Typical Mia. Her infectious smile and love of life charmed many people despite the pain she was in.
We knew 2018 would be a year of uncertainty. It began with the amputation of Mia’s feet on January 3. The surgeons did amazing work, ensuring Mia would have two functional knees. We celebrated knowing how much that would improve her future mobility.
There were some dark times to come. Mia still wasn’t eating and was prescribed a host of pain medication. There were days when she would shake with pain. We could only hold her, knowing that this brave girl would fight as hard as anyone. The routine of preparing her pain medication and waking up in the night to manage her feeding machine felt like it would never end. But Mia overcame that – she moves fast.
We had some moments of real joy. On January 21, Mia celebrated her 5th Birthday. The day felt so significant to us, knowing how close Mia had come to not reaching that birthday. Watching her laugh and smile as she celebrated that birthday drove home how lucky we are that Mia survived her fight with Sepsis when so many don’t recover.
A week later, Mia was due to start school. Over the summer, we had wondered if she would be able to attend her first day of Prep. We shouldn’t have wondered. Mia said she wanted to go to school. She was so proud of herself in her uniform when we took her in on the first day. She tired quickly and we brought her home after an hour, but she had a great time.
The year continued to bring milestones. In July, Mia took her first bath in nine months. She had to wait until her badly affected knee recovered. A few weeks later, Mia got her first set of prosthetic legs. Four days later, she walked into school for the first time. There were tears from the teachers and delight from her school mates. That day felt amazing.
We began to tell Mia’s story to a wider audience. And the responses blew us away. You were among those remarkable people who helped Mia. Your generosity meant that Mia could receive a new set of legs after growing out of her first set. She’s moving much more comfortably now.
Our next goal is to get Mia outfitted with some upper limb prostheses. We’d like to get her using a body powered arm for rough play and myoelectric arm for finer work. We also want to get her a pair of climbing hooks so that she can go back to clambering about in the playground. We are also hoping for a modified bike that will let Mia get back to one of her favourite activities. She had just learnt to ride before she became ill and she is very keen to ride again. We don’t know exactly what the bike will look like, but we’re sure we can find something. This year we also hope to see Mia in waterproof legs and running blades.
Thank you for the opportunities you have given Mia. The funds you have provided Mia have been so generous. Your donations have contributed towards modifying our bathroom, purchasing Mia’s manual and power wheelchairs, a larger car and her new mermaid prosthetic legs. Donations is not the only gift you have given our family. We can’t express how much it means emotionally to us to know that people can see Mia’s struggles and feel our pain.
Some of the gifts we’ve been given have been truly moving. There’s a lovely gentleman in Canberra who recently turned 70. For his birthday he told everyone that, instead of gifts, donations could be made for Mia instead. He raised $1750 and we can’t thank him enough for this selfless act.
There’s a harp player who frequently plays in the foyer at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. We were there almost daily while Mia was getting treatment for her knee and Mia loved to sit and listen to him play. He came over one day and asked what had happened to Mia. A couple of weeks later he came over again and said he had written a song for Mia and he played it for us. It’s a kind gesture that will never be forgotten.
We are extremely fortunate to be surrounded by so many amazing people, near in our local community and far, worldwide, who are supporting us through media, fundraising activities, social media and in our everyday lives.
To all of you who have supported us, please know that you have made a difference in our lives and we will be forever grateful. On behalf of Mia and our whole family, thank you. We wish you all the very best for Christmas and 2019.
Peter and Amy Wilkinson