We are doubly proud of Mia

Although just six years old, Mia has fought two bouts of cancer five years apart, and is now at her cheeky best again.

After conquering two different cancers five years apart, there’s no stopping Mia now.

“She’s a really tough little cookie!” says Dr Molly Williams, Mia’s oncologist at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

The six-year-old Bluey fan from Shepparton is two weeks away from beating cancer for the second time.

Mia fought astronomical odds to survive stage four adrenal cortical carcinoma at age one.

Then she almost made it to the magical five-year cancer-free mark.

But Mia’s family was devastated when she was diagnosed with a second cancer last year – osteosarcoma.

Now after nearly nine months of chemotherapy, Mia is almost clear again.

“She’s a fighter, like 10 times a fighter,” proud mum Nicole Depuit says. “She’s coming out the other end. No one can believe it.”

Mia was first diagnosed with cancer after she tagged along with her mum to a GP.

“I couldn’t find a babysitter so I ended up taking her with me, and the GP noticed there was something wrong with Mia’s face and her tummy was quite bloated,” Mrs Depuit says.

“Luckily, I booked her ultrasound that afternoon – and they found a 10cm mass near the kidney.”

It was the beginning of an unfathomable chain of events for Mia and her family, who were living in the Whitsundays in Queensland.

“They found out the mass joined all the way up into her heart,” Mrs Depuit says.

“Then maybe three days later, she got put on life support because her blood clot just burst.

“They said, ‘She’s not going to make it, it’s stage four, it’s too late, you’ve got to get your families to come here to say goodbye.’”

Family members gathered to kiss goodbye a child who had been happy and healthy days earlier.

But then doctors threw the family a lifeline, suggesting chemotherapy was worth a try.

“So they started chemo straight away, while she was on life support, and she woke up and started breathing,” Mrs Depuit says.

“My mind was blown.”

Dr Williams says chunks of tumour clot had broken off in Mia’s heart and travelled into her lungs.

“She was very, very poorly and in a very dangerous way and just managed to claw her way back from that,” she says.

At that time, the Depuits moved to Melbourne to be closer to family support and the RCH.

Surgeons removed the tumour, Mia endured six months of chemo, and both parents had genetic testing.

It was discovered both Mia and her dad, Ben, have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, an inherited familial predisposition to a wide range of cancers.

In a further shock, a small slow-growing tumour was found in Mr Depuit’s brain, but its precarious location makes surgery too risky.

After six months of chemo, Mia was cancer-free.

The family moved to Shepparton just before Covid-19, and relished every moment together.

“Mia was able to go to daycare, kindy, make new friends,” Mrs Depuit says.

“Just living the normal life. Life was so perfect.”

Last year, the Depuits had Maisy, a little sister for Mia.

But two months later, a lump was spotted on a surveillance MRI just before the five-year remission mark.

“They called me and said, ‘There’s something on Mia’s shin’,” Mrs Depuit says.

Luckily, the cancer was detected early, and Mia had surgery in October.

“They cut out about 12cm of bone, then took out a part of the skinny bone the same length from the other leg and put that in,” Mrs Depuit says.

Mia will finish nine months of chemo in mid-April, and all indications are promising. “There’s no cancer at all, it’s amazing,” Mrs Depuit says.

Dr Williams, who has known Mia since she was a baby, describes her as “an extraordinary six-year-old”.

“She just gets on with it. She’s pretty outstanding.”

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