Mighty Mia

December 12th, 2016 | by Lilly O'Connell

18 year-old, Mia Benge, so-called “Mighty Mia” of Speedway, Indiana, battles brain tumors, epilepsy, and effects of proton radiation. She has fought with her health on a daily basis since she was 6 months old. She was born with a brain tumor. While most kids were running around on the playground in second grade, Mia was on the operating table undergoing brain surgery. By seventh grade, Mia suffered a stroke. This stroke left her unable to walk and talk, but through therapy she has gotten some of her speech back. She is now in a wheelchair, but can sometimes walk with the help of others. Mia’s family says that each day of her life is a fight to go on. One of Mia’s daily battles is with her epilepsy. She takes numerous medications to combat the negative effects of the epilepsy like seizures. Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system leading to seizures. These seizures are caused by brain disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. http://www.epilepsy.com/

Mia’s mother says that Mia has been in and out of Riley Hospital for Children since she 6 months old. Mia’s mother and sister see her through every hurdle.”I consider Mia a ‘lifer,'” Keri Taylor-Benge, Mia’s mother, said. “She’s pretty much been a Riley kid her entire life.” Riley Hospital for Children’s staff has become a part of the Benge family. Some of the doctors and nurses at Riley are so close with the Benge family, that they get each other birthday gifts and Christmas presents. Each year, to celebrate how much Riley has helped Mia, the Benge family attends Indiana University Dance Marathon. It is one of the biggest, most high-profile events of the year on the IU campus. And it raises big money for Riley as well. The students of Indiana University raised more than $4.1 million at the fourth-annual IUDM this year.  https://www.rileychildrens.org/

Even though Mia continues to face so many hardships in her life, she doesn’t let them slow her down.”Mia’s always been active. She loves to dance. She loves to watch football. The Colts are her favorite,” her mother Keri says. “This year she gets to cheer alongside the Colts cheerleaders at each game. She absolutely loves it. Mia is a part of the halftime routine at each home game for the Indianapolis Colts. She is considered a Junior Colts Cheerleader. Mia doesn’t let being in a wheelchair stop her.

“She never even questioned if she’d be able to do, she couldn’t wait to start practicing,” Olivia Benge, Mia’s sister, said. Mia will be a Junior Colts Cheerleader for the rest of this football season, and she  hopes to do it again next year. http://coltsroundup.com/2016/07/mighty-mia-earns-her-boots/

Mia faces scary struggles each day, but her family says she will never give up fighting. Her sassy, playful attitude inspires all who meet her.

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