VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Sports and signs fill the Jane P. Batten Student Center at Virginia Wesleyan University Thursday night, as student-athletes from every team on campus are on hand with banners in-hand to support a family they've never met.
"She’s been through more in the past 14 months than most people will go through in a lifetime," Michelle Moore said of her three year-old daughter, Mia.
Mia Grace Moore of Newport News is living with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. DIPG is a very rare, very aggressive form of pediatric brain cancer. At this time, there is no cure. Michell is Mia's single mother.
"The average life expectancy after being diagnosed is only nine months," Michelle explained. "One of the first things they tell you when you child is diagnosed, unfortunately, is to take her home and make memories. We try to make as many memories as we can. I hate to think that one day that’s all I have, but we try to enjoy making them and live in the moment when we can."
Thursday, they make memories. Marlin memories.
With an assist from the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, an organization aiming to improve the quality of life for children battling pediatric brain tumors and other childhood cancers, Mia is welcomed into the Marlins family. She signs a scholarship with the two-time national champion Virginia Wesleyan softball team.
"People need to understand it’s not about the medicine, it’s not about the treatment it’s not about the bad days and good days," Marlins outfielder Madison Glaubke noted. "It’s about being there to support her and knowing that she’s loved."
While cancer is an individual diagnosis, it impacts the entire family. Therefore, at Virginia Wesleyan, the Marlins family makes sure Mia has some company on her special day.
Mia's older brother Brendyn, who's had to shoulder more than an 11 year-old should, joins the Marlins baseball team in his own scholarship-signing ceremony.
"It brought tears to my eyes," Marlins pitcher/designated hitter Jacob Pilarski admitted. "Luckily the camera wasn't on me, so I got to hide it a little bit. Seeing something like that just breaks your heart. I just wish him and his family the best of luck."
"It makes my heart feel really good," Brendyn told News 3. "I'm happy for Mia."
"She knows that all these people here love her and support her and we’re going to be here for the rest of her life – however long that is," Glaubke added. "She beat the odds. She beat the nine months, it’s 14 months. She’s going to continue to do it and we’re going to be here every step of the way."
After the terminal diagnosis, doctors gave Michelle an assignment: go make memories with her daughter, Mia. Thursday, that homework was a group project...on campus, and now the Moores are not the only ones with something to hold onto.
Click here to visit Mia's Go Fund Me page
Click here to visit the Miracles for Mia Facebook page