CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mia Furrer is one of our amazing #MollysKids. We last had an update with her in September for pediatric cancer month when her brother, Dominic, grabbed her hand and walked her into middle school showing the world not to mess with his little sister.
No one wants to mess with her now. She’s growing well, 12 years old, and bubbling with confidence. For one, Mia just learned to ride her bike without training wheels.
“I know she’s late in learning,” her mom Marianna said. “But there’s good reason for it. Mia has been ravaged by disease since she was five. First it was dislocations. The regular use of crutches and boots allowed her joints to heal because of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, but didn’t allow her to do other things kids her age were doing. Then it was crippling juvenile arthritis, which led to Stage III Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”
Marianna took a breath.
"But her long medical past is not why I'm reaching out to you today," she said. "I'm writing you today about perspective."
Marianna said when her daughter was done with chemo from battling that cancer, she was 9-years old. She had no stamina or strength to push bike pedals.
By the time she had her strength back, all of her friends were zooming around on their bikes training-wheel-free, and Mia was too embarrassed to let them see her not knowing how.
So, her family got her a motorized razor.
They left the bike topic alone.
And here is where the perspective comes into play.
"Quarantining for COVID-19 might not be great," said Marianna. "But it sure is better than the quarantine life we had to live when her body was full of cancer. There are some similarities: being mindful of every little possible germ, doing school from home, medical masks, constant hand-washing, etc. But back then, Mia couldn’t swim in the pool. She couldn't run around outside. Some days she couldn’t get off the couch or walk to the bathroom on her own. If she did go out for a little while, she'd sleep the remainder of the day. And even if she had a good day of feeling well, she still had her cute bald head...
...back then, her body just couldn’t handle much of life."
Marianna’s comparison of quarantine for cancer versus COVID-19 stopped me. But she wasn’t done.
"It was frustrating at times," she said. "But it has made us able to see this time together as a blessing. We are playing games as a family daily, whereas before it was only a couple of times a week. We are eating every meal together. We are laughing and helping each other. And, let’s be honest, our dogs are seriously living their best life right now with all of us home and loving on them."
Marianna admitted they're going crazy, too, in moments, just like everyone. How they miss friends and family fiercely, and are concerned about the economy. But she said having the comparison in her head is something valuable.
"We look at THEN and look at NOW, and it helps us appreciate how truly blessed we are to be healthy and alive. It's much-needed perspective."
Mia has learned that sometimes you can grab life experiences back--things like riding a bike--after they have been stolen from you.
A good lesson for us all.