By Chelsea Lacey-Mabe
PHOENIXVILLE (CBS) — Chester Valley Dance Academy in Phoenixville is less than two months away from their summer recital and the students are busy perfecting the choreography in the opening act, a dance set to NYC. To set the scene of a city street, dancers will “shop” in the aisles of the audience, pulling out several shirts that say “Mighty Mia.” Then, when the dancers take the stage, they may notice a sticker at the center placed there by their teacher to remind them of classmates who couldn’t make the performance. One of the stickers will say Mia.READ MORE: Flyers Drop 9th Straight Game After Blowing Late Third-Period Lead To Islanders
“In my jazz class I have 12… Mia makes 13,” said Cathy Moran, jazz instructor and owner of the studio. “We’re still saving a spot for her.”
Shortly after a December performance in The Nutcracker, 10-year-old Mia Marchesani came down with a stomach bug. She never fully recovered from it and was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare form of liver cancer on February 5.
“As Mia says, ‘a cell went to the dark side,’” said Mia’s mom, Emily Marchesani. “In January I never thought I would have a kid who has cancer. I still sometimes don’t even think it’s real.”
It’s been hard for the whole community to wrap their head around but like Mia’s dance studio they haven’t wasted any time rallying the troops in support. “Mighty Mia” shirts have been made and sold by the hundreds; Mia’s teachers at West Vincent Elementary make weekly house-calls to keep their fourth-grader from falling behind in her school work; and 6th graders Eliza Connolly and Sylvia Sheldon created a bracelet inspired by Mia’s story.
“There’s not one mom in this community who doesn’t hold their kids a little tighter because of Mia,” noted Sylvia’s mom, Lisa Sheldon. “It’s given every family around here perspective.”
The yellow “Bee Mighty” bracelet created from Connolly and Sheldon’s “Small Gesture” bracelet line is meant to raise awareness for sarcoma and remind people that small gestures can equal a big impact. They’ve already sold 150 “Bee Mighty” bracelets, 45 of which were purchased by faculty at West Vincent.READ MORE: 'Water Was Completely Above The Ceiling': Queen Village Businesses Still Struggling After July Water Main Break
“I think sometimes she’s almost overwhelmed thinking so many people are praying for her and thinking about her,” said Emily. “We get packs of cards from girl scouts and boy scouts and Mia reads every single one. Those are the kind of things that boost her spirit.”
Mia recently wrapped up her fourth round of chemo. A CT scan scheduled for May 12 will determine whether she’ll need a liver transplant. In the meantime, Mia’s mom is working on a goal to walk 100 miles in May as part of CHOP’s Daisy Days fundraising campaign. It’s Emily’s personal mission to get into top shape since she would be Mia’s living organ donor.
“The way [Emily] presents everything… it’s always in a positive way,” said Moran. “There is such love and support in that family. I know Mia’s going to be fine because they’re such good people.”
Mia’s goal is to get back to dance–her passion since she was five years old.Police: Man Shot Multiple Times, Killed Inside West Oak Lane Corner Store
“She does ballet, jazz, lyrical. She also plays violin. She says she likes to ice skate but she’s probably done it twice in her life,” said Emily laughing. “All these things she wants to do whenever she’s better.”