The family’s goal is to raise $50,000. They are at about $39,000 now, mostly because of generous donations from their church and Mia’s maternal grandfather’s company.
Cervoni said her family has always helped others, and “to now be on the flip side of it is very humbling.”
Statistics from the United Network of Organ Sharing, the organization that manages transplant wait lists, shows that from 2009 to 2011, 69.9 percent of children up to age 18 received hearts within 90 days of being listed. But the data from 2012 and 2013 indicated the median wait time for a heart for children under 1 year old was 111 days.
Mia was listed on Jan. 3. There are 53 infants under 1 year old awaiting hearts across the country; nine are in Florida.
For now, Mia is doing well. She smiles, laughs and eats. Eating is important, because a key sign of heart failure in infants is loss of appetite. But Mia’s relatively good health may mean she’ll have to wait longer for a heart.
The scariest thing, Cervoni said, is knowing they may have to watch Mia get sicker while they wait. But even harder is thinking about the pain another family will have to endure.
“My husband and I buried a child already, and another family has to do the same to save Mia’s life,” she said.
Even with a new heart, Mia will be on immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of her life. And because she’ll be getting the transplant so young, she will likely need another heart in her late teens or 20s, and perhaps another transplant in her 30s.
But she has a chance to live, thanks to her older brother Gavin and the autopsy the family decided to get when he was stillborn.
A Christian woman, Cervoni said that for a long time, she didn’t know what purpose Gavin’s death served.
“Now, looking back, I do have a reason,” she said. “If what happened to Gavin hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have Mia. We would have never known to even look for that diagnosis in Mia.”