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Maryborough Zumba Club is a social and fitness class that runs three days a week and is available for all abilities and ages. Everyone is welcome to join a class and go at their own pace.

The club has been running for eight years and is a great way to socialise. Life-long friendships are made and there’s a coffee after class to catch up each week.

The members range from four to 84 years old and have four generations in one class, all enjoying themselves while getting exercise.

Zumba is a great way to exercise as you get to dance along to music and it uses all parts of your body.

Importantly, it engages the arms and stimulates the lymphatic system which is particularly crucial for cancer patients and survivors. It also keeps the body’s circulation system going, which is something many people neglect in their day-to-day lives.

A few of the members have had their own battle with cancer and by going to Zumba it has allowed them to keep healthy and also have a support network of friends.

Last year Mia Wilkinson was a bright and bubbly four-year-old who had just learnt to ride a bike when she suddenly felt ill.

Her tummy was sore, she was vomiting and couldn’t stand up.  She was disorientated and wasn’t responding to questions. Her family knew something wasn’t right. Tragically she developed sepsis, and in order to save her life, she lost her arms and legs.

On Tuesday October 2, Maryborough Zumba held a fundraising event for Mia to help fund the long process to recovery and provide the expensive prosthetics and lifelong medical treatments and equipment.

Mia is from Brisbane, but her grandmother, Wendy, lives in Maryborough and is a member of the Zumba club. Mia’s story is heartbreaking and inspiring.

When she first became ill she was diagnosed with a gastro bug at a local doctor’s surgery and sent home. By the afternoon she was unable to focus and was taken to hospital where she was diagnosed with Influenza B and a viral myositis.

The following day her parents noticed a light purple rash on her legs and knew it wasn’t right. They took Mia back to hospital but had no idea how bad things were until Mia was admitted.

That night Mia was fighting for her life. Her heart stopped and she was revived by doctors in paediatric ICU. For the next six days Mia fought her way back from death. However, there was some permanent damage. As Mia’s legs and arms began to darken it was apparent that they would have to be amputated.

Mia was upset but so strong and asked if she would get new hands and legs. She was told that her new hands would help her but wouldn’t be the same. Her arms were amputated below the elbow and her legs below the knee.

Mia was unsure of how she would be able to play with her sibling like she used to, but she is still able to join in and her parents help her to keep up and be included.

Mia has shown everyone just how strong she is by regaining her smile and giggle, drawing, playing with her dolls house, and using her Ipad.

Mia’s initial symptoms appeared to be just like usual childhood illnesses.

Sepsis develops as a massive immune system response when an infection gets into the blood, and often leads to organ failure.  If identified quickly it can usually be treated with antibiotics and fluids. It affects 20-30 million people each year while as many as 9 million people die from it.

September 13 is the annual Sepsis Awareness Day.

Mia’s parents, Amy and Peter, would like people to recognise the signs of sepsis. These can include rapid breathing or a heart racing, mottled skin, confusion, slurred speech, not passing urine, fever and chills, rash, vomiting, feeling the sickest you’ve ever been and extreme pain. If you detect any of these symptoms go to a doctor and ask ‘could this be sepsis?’

Mia’s family is thankful for all the love and support shown by their communities and for all the help they have received.

Mia started prep this year and is getting the support that is needed from teachers and teacher aids, which have enabled her to join in and adapt well.

She has a strong spirit and confidence from her experiences.  The Mia Wilkinson Trust – Necessitous Circumstances Fund has been set up for people to donate to help the family with expenses. Mia will need new prosthetics every few years as she grows, and they can be very costly. They range in price from $8,000 to $20,000 for each leg, and $6,000 to $100,000 for each arm.

The average lifespan of a prosthetic is just three years, however as Mia grows they may need to be replaced more often.  Without high quality prosthetics, Mia’s journey will be difficult. The fund will also help with lifelong medical treatments, house modifications, car modifications and equipment.

Donations are tax deductible and your gift will give Mia the hands she needs to paint pictures, the legs she needs to walk through the park, and the care she needs to thrive.

You can donate to the Mia Wilkinson Trust – Necessitous Circumstances Fund through the website:

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