In Memory of Mia Austin

“In the blink of an eye: The title of the incredible Mia Austin’s book. After suffering a stroke at 21 leaving her with Locked-in Syndrome, Mia wrote a book, travelled, and inspired everyone who was lucky enough to meet her. Sadly, Mia passed away on 26th June 2018. She was a wonderful person who inspired the world and everyone who was lucky enough to meet her. Mia was a proud ambassador and we’ll always strive to honour her memory.

This was Mia’s incredible story…

On 16th November 2009, Mia’s life was to change forever. At the age of 21, Mia was working as a Travel Agent and a regular at the gym living the life of a typical 21-year-old. Life was to change direction significantly that day.

Mia suffered her stroke at her home in Wirral. Doctors were not hopeful of a positive outcome and prepared her family to expect the worst. They didn’t believe Mia, who was put on a life support machine at Arrowe Park Hospital, Merseyside, would survive the night.

However, as they were preparing to withdraw life support, Mia opened her eyes. Despite being completely immobile, doctors realised she could still see, hear and think as normal. Mia’s resolve and strength of character defied belief. A week after opening her eyes, Mia was diagnosed with ‘Locked-in Syndrome’, a condition where Mia has been left her trapped in her own body, unable to speak.

While Mia can see, hear, and think as normal, she cannot move from the neck down and has to be fed through a tube. It is a condition Doctors describe as “the closest thing to being buried alive”.

A 14 month stay in hospital followed with Mia writing poems and stories to keep her alert and occupied. At was at this time, the idea of writing a book became one of Mia’s ambitions.

Mia is a true ‘tour de force’. Not only has Mia written a book, but she has travelled the world supporting local people, she has taken part in several challenges in order to raise money for charity, including sleeping rough on the streets of Liverpool to raise awareness about homelessness. She has also been on aid missions to orphanages in Gambia, and the Calais Jungle which she is returning to in July 2019.

Despite being paralysed from the neck down, Mia’s appetite for life remains overwhelmingly strong. She uses a computer to communicate, which tracks her eye movement to create words and sentences. It was this method she used to pen her book; ‘In the blink of an eye’. Mia has recently completed a Criminology Course, a Forensics Course, and also a Criminal Justice Course.

Her friends and family are rightly proud of Mia. To write a book quite literally in the blink of an eye is outstanding.

Mia’s passion for life, and for supporting others is relentless. It is this reason why she has shown such a desire to be an Ambassador for A Stroke of Luck. Mia uses exercise to support her in her ongoing physical rehabilitation and fundamentally believes it is critical in supporting fellow survivors to lead as active a life as possible. In her words Mia has said, “I am excited about this”, “Becoming an Ambassador for A Stroke of Luck beats any achievement”. She is already planning fundraising activities and is negotiating with Craig, Our Founder & CEO to do a Bungee Jump and a Shark Dive.

Craig commented on Mia joining the team: “Mia is an exceptional individual. Her courage is staggering and her ability to be such a positive role-model in the face of adversity is inspirational. A Stroke of Luck is honoured to have Mia as an Ambassador. As a fellow Survivor, I, and others can learn a lot from Mia’s example. I am looking forward to spending a lot of time getting to know Mia over the coming days, months, and years. She will be a friend for life”.