Teammates of the Year return from Boston and celebrate end of chemo

The Teammate of the Year gala was held on June 1st.

SAN ANTONIO – We’ve been following her story for months now, little Mia Perez is a 10-year-old living with leukemia.

After KSAT 12 News’ last story on her, Mia and a UTSA Women’s Basketball player won the national honor of Teammate of the Year.

“On behalf of me and Hailey, thank you. She would like to say the rest,” Mia said.

“Thank you for all of the votes, I know some of you voted endless hours. You have carpal tunnel now, arthritis. It was all worth it,” Teresa Perez, Mia’s mom, said with a laugh.

Teammates of the Year return from Boston and celebrate end of chemo (KSAT)

It is all smiles at the Perez household after the Teammate of the Year gala.

”And just so you know, never order a Uber when you’re at Boston,” Mia said.

Mia and her friend Hailey Atwood, a basketball player with UTSA, won the honor of Teammate of the Year with Team Impact.

It’s a nonprofit that pairs collegiate athletes with kids with disabilities or severe illnesses.

The award brought them to Boston for a gala to be recognized for their friendship.

”They had mascots there, they had cheerleaders, they had a couple of I guess like ex-NFL players,” Teresa said.

For Teresa, there was a simpler part to their trip that was her favorite.

“Watching Mia roll down the hill. That was probably the first time she had rolled in grass,” Teresa said.

Mia finished her chemo treatments just before they left, with two and a half years of hospital visits, blood transfusions, and 868 days of treatments finally behind her.

“So this was her port,” Teresa said, showing and explaining the parts of Mia’s port.

For the first time in years, Mia was able to have friends come to her house without her mom having to worry about her getting sick.

They had alpacas, signs out front, and handmade posters to celebrate Mia.

“This one, this one. Pretty much all of them,” Mia said, showing her.

Now as a family, they can focus on Mia being a kid and catching up on lost time.

“I don’t want her to worry about anything. Just do your thing Mia, roll down those hills, play in the dirt, you know, go eat at your buffet, and I’ll take care of the rest,” Teresa said.

Mia will still have to go to the doctor regularly to make sure she stays healthy.

She says she wants her mom to go to the salon and her dad to go get a massage because they both deserve it.

June 4th is National Cancer Survivors Day, where people advocate for more resources, research, and legislation to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.


About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.