powering cures, realizing futures

Mia Rugienius

miaAs the youngest of four, Mia was a very happy and active preschooler. With sudden ankle pain, bruising, low-grade fevers and persistently feeling cold, it came as a shock that she needed to be admitted to Children’s Hospital of Orange County in the summer of 2014. After many tests, Mia was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) Type B and began treatment immediately. Not able to attend first grade, she lived through chemotherapy, medications, and surgical procedures for two-and-a-half years. Missing many aspects of childhood, Mia saw light and love with all those who cared for her, while achieving remission.

With current cancer research and clinical studies, ALL’s initial prognosis rate is at 90-95% survival. Unfortunately for Mia, remission was abruptly cut short with a heartbreaking relapse after her 12th birthday in 2020. The fear and physical and emotional pain of a relapsed cancer are immeasurable.

Armed and ready for her second battle, Mia went to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles to receive specialized care for her relapse, including an intense chemotherapy protocol under world-renowned oncologists. While research has yet to determine the main factors for relapse, we hope that ongoing research will provide insights into Mia’s relapse and advance care for other childhood cancers.


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