Eight years ago, Girl Scout Daisy Mia Martin was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), which is a congenital heart defect that affects normal blood flow due to the incorrect formation of the left side of the heart, causing holes or gaps in the walls.
Since diagnosis, Mia has had 14 procedures, four of which were open heart.
“Looking at her, you would never know,” said her mom, Jaime Martin. “She is a very strong girl. She never gets gives up on what she wants to accomplish, and if she can’t do something, she will keep working on it until she does get it.”
When Mia was entering first grade, Bonfield Grade School in Bonfield, Illinois held a fair that included a Girl Scouting table. Mia and her mom did not hesitate to register and get started in Troop 75410. Part of the reason Mia wanted to join was because her family had received so much help and she wanted to give back to the community by participating in Girl Scouts.
This year, Mia has perfect attendance at her Girl Scout meetings.
“She’s always asking if this is a Monday she has a Girl Scout meeting,” her mom said. “She has already learned so much in just one year – earning all her Daisy pedals and 23 patches, and selling over 200 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies!”
Mia is highly involved in the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) chapter near her, where she stays around procedure times. According to Mia, her favorite day at RMH so far was the day her Sister Girl Scouts visited her and brought her goodies.
The troop members made breakfast bags for the current and future guests. Mia and her friends toured RMH, and she explained how much this place has done for her and her family throughout her many procedures. There is an engraved brick on RMH’s campus in memory of her grandmother and in honor of Mia. Mia loves to show off her brick to her guests and visitors.
Mia and her family want to encourage their community to support the Ronald McDonald House through their Pop Tab Collection Program. This program benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI) through their recycling partner, United Scrap Metal, which donates the market-value of the recycled items back to RMHC-CNI. Last year RMHC-CNI raised more than $40,000. Since it started, the Martin family has already collected one million pop tabs! In honor of this great accomplishment, Mia’s name will now be on the wall at RMH. Pop tab collections can be dropped off at various addresses listed on the website.
In addition to collecting pop tabs, Mia and her Daisy troop have been selling lemonade to raise funds for RMHC.
The Martin family says that Girl Scouting has made a huge impact in Mia’s life so far as a great organization that accepts everyone and demonstrates openness and love.
“She is my miracle,” her mother said fondly. “I just try to teach her to be thankful for every day and live life to the fullest!”