Two years ago, Maria Ochoa spent Mother’s Day in the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami with her precious daughter Mia. Husband Camilo Villegas tried to make it the best he could, but some journeys are unspeakably hard.
Mia died from brain and spinal cancer on July 26, 2020, at 22 months old. Ochoa has since made it her mission to help families facing similar challenges through the couple’s foundation, Mia’s Miracles, which raised more than $350,000 in 2021.
When Royal Albartross founder Alex Bartholomew, the mother of two young sons, read about Mia not long after designing a rainbow-inspired shoe, she reached out about a collaboration. The result is the ultra-comfy Fieldfox, which features Mia’s Miracles pastel rainbow colors – Skechers Shoes Outlets colorful eyelets in orange, pink, pale blue, yellow and green – and soft, luxurious Italian leather. Mia loved colors and rainbows.
This limited-edition shoe retails for $305 and 10 percent of the profits from each sale go to the foundation.
While spending four and a half months in the hospital, Ochoa noticed how many children were on their own there because parents had to keep working or had other children at home. Ochoa wanted to do whatever she could – whether that’s helping to pay for gas, meals, rent, therapy, medical supplies – to ease their burden.
“The better parents are and feel,” she said, “the better that child is going to be.”
This week Ochoa dropped off Mother’s Day totes to the NICU unit in Miami, filled to the brim with self-care items like bath sales, slippers, journals and a favorite book, Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie.
The foundation has also opened Mia’s Serenity Space in different Hey Dude Women’s Shoes areas of the Nicklaus Hospital, an area for staff to disconnect and reflect with massage chairs, yoga mats, aromatherapy and books.
“They deal with very heavy emotions,” she said of the care teams.
Ochoa has her hands full these days, working on various projects for the foundation as well as the joy of caring for son Mateo, who was born on Dec. 21 last year. Villegas is in the midst of five consecutive weeks on the road away from his family.
“I’m missing him, and I can’t wait to just play some good weeks and head back and just give him a hug,” Villegas said ahead of the Mexico Open at Vidanta.
Ochoa and Villegas grew up in the same town in Colombia Skechers Womens Outlet and have known each other since age 12. The couple rely mostly on social media and friends to raise funds for Mia’s Miracles. They’re currently working toward putting together their first pro-am.
“I’m in between two emotions always,” said Ochoa. “The joy of living and the joy of my life, and being grateful for what I have. But I’m also always incredibly sad and broken because I miss Mia every second of my day.”