Joint Merseyside Woman of the Year 2019: Mia Austin

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Mia’s life was turned upside down when she had a stroke at the age of 21. She was left with Locked In Syndrome, a medical condition that damages part of the brainstem, paralysing the body and most of the facial muscles. Despite having this life-changing condition, Mia refused to give up and focused on living her life to the fullest, while also helping others.

She continued to travel and undertook lots of charity work, including sleeping out on the streets of Liverpool to raise money and awareness of homelessness. She even travelled to Africa to support communities, visit orphanages and schools and deliver donations of stationery and toys. Her story captured the admiration of the public when the shortlist was announced, winning the public vote and title of Woman of the Year with 2,451 votes, the largest number of votes for one finalist in the event’s 16-year history.

Tragically, Mia passed away the day before the MWOTY awards. In order to ensure the MWOTY platform could be used to do good in the region, Mia’s family and friends asked that the accolade be passed on to the first runner up in the public vote, who was anti-knife crime campaigner, Laura Hughes. Mia was also posthumously named Inspirational Woman of the Year at the 2019 ceremony.

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