Cancer fight inspires Mia to be a nurse
LITTLE Mia Johnson has big dreams for her future.
The Tregeagle Public School student has her heart set on being a pediatric oncology nurse when she grows up.
"Pediatric" and "oncology" are complex words most 11-year-olds would struggle to understand, but Mia knows them well after spending almost a year in hospital fighting a deadly cancer.
In March 2013, doctors found a strange lump about the size of a small lemon in her nasal pharynx - at the back of the nose and mouth.
The lump turned out to be a rare tumour with an almost unpronounceable name - embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma.
Mia's mum Christie, her dad Brad and her little brother Kahn spent 12 months in Brisbane so they could be with the little girl as she endured 43 weeks of gruelling chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation sessions.
Mrs Johnson said she and her family knew they were the lucky ones - 13 of the youngsters they got to know while in the city died from cancer.
"We were devastated, absolutely devastated," the dental assistant said of learning her daughter was ill.
"We had no choice but to just do what we had to do.
"Our focus was on getting Mia better, one day at a time. Each day was a huge struggle for us all.
"I would cry a lot.
"It was very hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel but we eventually got to it."
Every three months Mia has blood tests, chest X-rays, MRI scans and hearing tests.
"Mia is still cancer-free," Mrs Johnson said.
"Mia's oncologist is very confident that she will remain cancer-free and that she has beaten it.
"But who knows, this type of cancer can have a tendency to come back."
The Johnson family's time in Brisbane was made a lot easier through the work of the Children's Hospital Foundation Queensland.
"They were just amazing," Mrs Johnson said.
"They did so many things with the sick children and their siblings."
"Without the foundation, I honestly don't know how we would have managed."