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Midway family grieves daughter on Make-A-Wish trip

Associated Press Modified: October 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm •  Published: October 8, 2012

MIDWAY, Utah (AP) — Mia McDonald had big plans to meet her two favorite characters — Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse — while on a family trip to Disney World, but the 4-year-old Utah girl never made it to the park.

Mia became sick just hours after arriving in Florida as her body rejected the transplanted heart she received when she was just 4 months old, her father, John McDonald, said. The Deseret News reported that her family would take her off life support Monday morning, and McDonald confirmed with the paper that the family had followed through.

"You would never know that this girl had a heart transplant," McDonald told the Deseret News ( "She was just a beautiful, healthy looking, happy girl."

But her condition went downhill quickly in Florida. The Midway family's trip was being sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"There was no buildup to this," McDonald said. "All of a sudden, she's not here."

Mia received the donated heart from a boy named Jacob when he passed away in 2008. On Nov. 10, 2011, the third anniversary of Mia's transplant, her mother, also a transplant recipient, made a video.

She wanted to thank the stranger who lost her son but saved Mia's life through organ donation. That woman, who lives in Rhode Island, met the McDonald family for the first time Sunday to hold Mia in her arms.

The family said they plan to donate as many of Mia's organs as they can to help other children. Her father says answering the prayers of another family in a hospital room somewhere may help them heal and find some peace.

Donations to the family to help defer expenses can be made at