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Meet Mia

by Tess Chicoine

Mia, a spunky and fun-loving 11-year-old, has been beating the odds since the day she was born. The Lincoln Kids Team had the opportunity to sit down with Mia and her mom, Karleigh, to learn more about her story. The conversation left a mark on our hearts and we wanted to share it with everyone!

Hey Mia! Thanks so much for meeting with us today. Can you tell us what grade you are in and where you go to school?

Mia: Hello! I’m Mia and I’m a 5th grader at Maxey Elementary. 

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Mia, can you tell us about your medical journey?

Mia: I was born with 22Q, which means you have either a deletion or an addition to your 22nd chromosome. It affects my eyes to the point where it is very hard for me to see. Many times it is described as Cat Eye Syndrome. I have gone through three eye surgeries in the last year and a half. 

Have there been any major challenges throughout Mia’s journey?

Karleigh (Mom): 22Q is a more common disease than most know. But, there are different levels to how it affects each person who is diagnosed. For Mia, it is a more mild case. When Mia was young, the doctors shared that she would not be able to walk. She defied the odds and took her first steps at age two. I used to be stressed by the idea of Mia struggling to make friends, but her outgoing personality gave her one of her best friends, Kylee. 

“Never second guess me.”

-  Mia Stoynev

Tell us about your best friend, Kylee.

Mia: Kylee is awesome! She sits right behind me in school, which is the best thing ever. Kylee is able to read the longer pages in a book while I read the shorter ones, so that I do not need to hurt my neck by being close to the book. Kylee plays with me at recess even when I am unable to do some of the activities the other kids can do. She’s my best friend!

What are some of your favorite activities to do in school and out of school?

Mia: My favorite subjects in school are math and science! I would say I am smarter than my mom!

Karleigh: Did I mention that she has a sassy attitude that we all love?

Mia: In the summer, I like to swim in my grandparents’ pool and practice volleyball with my mom. I would swim all day, every day if I could. I also was Mary in the Christmas play, and I hope to get involved with the Penguin Project this year. 

She seems pretty fearless against the world, is that learned or just who she is?

Karleigh: Mia had all odds thrown against her the moment she came into this world. I would say that her strength and determination come from who she is as a person. She defies all odds and shows the world that she is bigger than anything. Mia has taught me a lot. One thing I have learned from Mia is to be patient. She makes me slow down and appreciate the small things.

“Every day, through every challenge, Mia continues to make me so proud.”

- Karleigh, Mia’s mom

Mia, we are so grateful that you shared your story with us! We look forward to watching you shine and seeing you achieve all of your goals.

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