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Newborn Mia Rogers, of St Mary's Island, Chatham, almost died after birthmark grew in her throat

A relieved mum has told how how her young daughter is now on the road to recovery after a rare birthmark was discovered growing in her throat.

Mia Rogers was taken to Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham after her parents noticed she was making a high-pitched wheezing sound while breathing.

While under observations, the five-week-old's condition became more laboured and she was blue-lighted to Evelina London Children’s Hospital by the South Thames Retrieval Service – a specialist team which brings intensive care equipment via a specially equipped ambulance to the sickest children.

Mum Sophie Collins said: "After the team saw Mia, they took the decision to intubate her and put her on mechanical ventilation to help with her breathing so it would be safe to take her back to Evelina London.

"It was so scary. As they did not know what was in her airway, the team had to prepare us that she could potentially die."

When they arrived at the hospital in May last year, Mia was taken to the paediatric intensive care unit.

Sophie, 32, added: "Because of the Covid restrictions, Jon (Mia's dad) could not stay with me. I had a lot of questions but the staff were so brilliant and explained everything to me calmly and clearly.

"They helped me to get some accommodation to stay on site, first at Evelina London, then at Ronald McDonald House close by."

Mia was put on a ventilator for seven days before surgery
Mia was put on a ventilator for seven days before surgery
Mum Sophie Collins and Mia
Mum Sophie Collins and Mia

Mia spent seven days on a ventilator before she went into surgery where cameras were put down her throat to find out what was obstructing her airways. She had three of these procedures in total.

Medics discovered she had a rare condition called a subglottic haemangioma – a birthmark growing in her throat and preventing her from breathing properly.

A haemangioma is a collection of small blood vessels that occur under the skin and can sometimes be called 'strawberry marks'. A subglottic haemangioma is similar and can occur in the air passage beneath the vocal cords.

The consultant, who covers the South East, usually only has two cases per year and said the rate it grew in Mia's case was also very uncommon.

Mia was immediately started on medication which is effective in the majority of infants to reduce the size of the mass, and after 13 days she was finally allowed back to her home in St Mary's Island.

But a few months later, in October, Mia started to deteriorate. Doctors found that the haemangioma had not fully responded to the beta blockers and had continued to grow meaning the tot would need an operation.

Inside Mia's airways in May, September and October
Inside Mia's airways in May, September and October

Ten days later Mia underwent the procedure, this time to remove a large part of the mass blocking her airways, again by going down her throat.

Sophie said: "The operation was about three-and-a-half hours. The wait was excruciating but the procedure was successful and after a few more days in hospital, we were able to take Mia home."

Since the operation, the now one-year-old has gone from strength to strength.

"Mia is so much better in herself now," Sophie added. "She is just so lovable and is always up for a cuddle. She also loves playing with her big sister Isla."

Mia is still under the care of Evelina London who regularly check on her progress, as it is possible for the haemangioma to grow again until it naturally shrinks away around the age of 18 months.

The family has since raised more than £5,000 to thank staff for saving their daughter’s life. If you would like to donate to the JustGiving page, click here.

Dad Jon Rogers, mum Sophie Collins, Mia and sister Isla
Dad Jon Rogers, mum Sophie Collins, Mia and sister Isla

Exactly a year after she was taken to hospital, on May 8, dad Jon Rogers ran the route the ambulance took between Medway and Evelina.

The 34-year-old, was joined by friends and family at various points throughout the 34-mile trek and fiancée Sophie ran alongside him for the first and last five miles.

He completed the challenge in six hours and five minutes.

Sophie said: "The second that the Evelina London team saw Mia, we knew we were in safe hands. They gave me so much support and care at a time when I needed it most. Without them, Mia could have died."

Care home manager Jon added: "The ear, nose and throat team who care for Mia are superb and have gone above and beyond on so many occasions and we will be forever grateful for everything they have done for us.

Mia is now on the road to recovery
Mia is now on the road to recovery

"The run was tough both physically and mentally, however the motivation from friends and family on the day was incredible, all I needed to do was put one foot in front of the other. I cannot thank Evelina London enough."

Consultant children's ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr Victoria Possamai added: "I am very heartened to see Mia thriving following her challenging start in life. It continues to be a privilege to look after her in partnership with her parents.

"I would like say a huge thank you to them both, and to everyone who took part in their run, for fundraising for Evelina London."

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