Mia Gonzalez is one of three finalists that have been selected for the 2018 CBS47 Renew-A-Ride. The winner will receive a renewed 2013 Nissan Rogue.
Renew-A-Ride received nearly 1,300 nominations of deserving families that need a new vehicle. Together with their partners, CBS47 narrowed down the nominations to three finalists. Now it's up to the viewers to decide and cast their vote (one vote per day).
A wheelchair is now part of everyday life for Mia, but that's not how it's always been.
Prior to last Labor Day weekend, Mia was a thriving firefighter for Cal Fire with nothing but life ahead of her.
Mia said, “I was with my cousin Carlos and we decided to go to Sequoia National Forest and we were near Morro Rock past Three Rivers and we wanted to go find some swimming holes.”
She says she mistakenly got too close to the edge of a cliff.
“I ended up tumbling 50 feet,” Mia said.
It was that single fall that changed her life forever.
“I remember just bracing my head after hitting it the first time and I was doing backflips all the way down,” Mia said. “I remember looking up at my cousin saying, ‘I can't feel my legs.’”
Mia suffered a complete broken spine. Doctors told her she has a less than a 10 percent chance of ever walking again.
“It's been stressful, and there are always days when you feel down,” she said.
Mia's godmother and aunt Ruby nominated her for the CBS47 Renew-A-Ride contest.
It will be another mode of transportation that she says will help tremendously. Mia says she intends to modify the car to be handicapped accessible with hand controls so she can drive.
Mia said, “Well I can get back to being independent so I can possibly go back to school and pursue another career.”