These women don’t mess around
Meet Jeannine and Mia Mason, Wildcat athletes (past and present) and powerhouse advocates for pediatric research at Steele Children’s Research Center.
When she was 12, Mia was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer that affects fewer than 200 kids each year in the United States. Her family’s experience with her cancer diagnosis made them even more aware about the importance of research and its lifesaving impact.
“Mia was such a healthy 12-year girl. She had just played three soccer matches the day before. By the next day, she had developed these horrible headaches that were making her sick. I knew something wasn’t right. I immediately took her to see our family doctor. A CAT scan revealed a mass that turned out to be an ependymoma, an extremely rare cancer. From that moment, it was a whirlwind of doctors, surgery, waiting rooms, radiation treatments, and weeks and months of recovery. We learned so much about the research that had been done that allowed her doctors and radiologists to map out exactly where the radiation needed to go and what areas they needed to avoid. Only through research were they able to be so precise.”
For a young athlete like Mia, sports has always guided her. Her cancer diagnosis was no exception. “I think it definitely helped me through the process. Having everybody around me – family, doctors, and my teammates – supporting me through it all really helped a lot. And, I just wanted to be able to play again.”
This year, the Mason women will celebrate some significant milestones in their lives, including Mia’s nine years of being cancer free. It seemed like the right time for them to tell their story.
We want people to know that research being done here at Steele is saving kids’ lives all over the world.
Mia: I want other survivors to know that looking at me might give them hope. Looking at me might help them say, “I’ll be okay, too.”
“If Mia had something like this 10 years earlier, her outcome would not have been the same. Research is the reason we’ve come so far. But we still have a long way to go.”
We’re not messing around.
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