Cool Kid Mia Coomes helps families pay hospital bills to honor friend's memory

Thursday, February 15, 2018 06:42PM
ABC7 Cool Kid Mia Coomes started a nonprofit in her friend's honor that raises money to pay families' hospital bills.

Sixteen-year-old Mia Coomes says her life changed when her longtime friend, Christopher Wilke, was diagnosed with a rare cancer called cholangiocarcinoma.

Devastated, Coomes and her friends wanted to help Wilke's family.

"Instead of grieving and being upset about it and not doing anything about it, we were going to hopefully raise money for his family to help with the hospital bills," Coomes said.

Their goal of raising $750 turned into $15,000. When Christopher passed away four years ago, Mia started the non-profit Change Works! in his honor. His initials C.W. were used in the name, along with his favorite color, green.

This junior at Panorama City's St. Genevieve High School is now raising funds with her friends to help pay other families' hospital bills. Wilke's parents say the effort has become a huge part of their son's legacy.

"Everything that those children have done has been inspirational for me and everything my son went through," said Lisa Wilke. "I can't wait to see what her (Coomes) future brings to her, because she has done amazing things with this."

"Mia is nothing short of extraordinary!" said her principal at St. Genevieve High School, Dan Horn. "She takes honors classes, AP classes, and she excels."

The nonprofit's youth board is also designed to make sure kids under 18 years old run things, with the help of a few adults.

Coomes wants to major in biology when she attends college, but says she'll never stop changing lives through Change Works!

"I see it growing into something so beautiful and something a lot of people would be able to come to," Coomes said.
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