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Small survivor inspires parents

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 11:01:02 AM CST
Updated On: Oct 19 2013 08:02:43 AM CDT

The family of a little girl being helped by St. Jude Children's Hospital wants to give back.

SCOTT COUNTY, Va. -

There are things in life that you just can't put a price tag on. Right at the top of the list is saving the life of a child.

But a Scott County, Virginia family wants to do something to repay Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital for all they do. Their little girl has a rare disease that only they can help with.

Little Mia Taylor turns two next month; today, she's hard at work on a log in the back yard. Just looking at this active little girl one would never imagine that she's had 24 blood transfusions in her short lifetime.

She has a very rare form of anemia. It was discovered on a scary trip to the emergency room when she was just three-and-a-half weeks old.

She couldn't even keep her formula down. "One night she got so bad that she was choking on the milk. I panicked and told my mother-in-law to do something, Mia was turning blue," Mia's mother Tina says.

A trip to Kingsport turned into a fast trip to Johnson City and the Niswonger Children's Hospital. "That was the longest ride that I've ever had to Johnson City, following the ambulance with Tina and Mia in it," mother-in-law Judy Taylor said.

Little Mia needed a blood transfusion. "They gave her her first transfusion that night. Dr. Popescu, who works with Saint Jude's, just so happened was on call and she came in. That's when she first met Mia. She told us when she took one look at here she knew she had Diamond Blackfan anemia," her mother said. It's an exteremly rare blood disease with only 400 to 700 cases in the country.

At some point she would need a bone transplant. Luckily, there was a donor within the family who wanted to help -- her older sister. "Anything to save her sissy, she would do. She didn't want her sissy to die. She wanted her sissy here," the girl's proud mother said.

And thanks to Saint Jude's, she's here and come December she'll have her transplant.

Now the family wants to give back any way they can. "You can never repay anybody for what they've done. Nothing could amount to that. If it's a little bit of something, it helps another child somewhere. That money goes toward helping that other child," Tina says.

Right now they're thinking of doing a walk-a-thon in Mia's name, but we'll keep you posted on what and when. It's a simple thing called paying it forward.