"We honor our little one's name, and what better way of doing it than helping others?" Camilo Villegas says of Mia's Miracles

By Jen Juneau
November 30, 2020 04:17 PM
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Camilo Villegas
Camilo Villegas and family
| Credit: Maria Ochoam/Instagram

Camilo Villegas is leveraging his experience with his late daughter Mia to help others.

Four months after the professional golfer, 38, and his wife Maria lost their 22-month-old following a battle with brain and spine cancer, they are opening up about their foundation Mia's Miracles, and how its recent name change was inspired by their daughter's story.

"We can go back to the day we walked in the hospital," Villegas said in a video shared by the PGA Tour, which is narrated by Andy Garcia. "I think it was about our miracle ... for [our] daughter to be healthy, come back home and just live a 'normal life.' "

"And we realized that the chemotherapy [was] not working, and how our little one had kind of declined," he adds. "Everything changed."

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"Every day," says Maria, "I would just try to do my best for my little girl" while she was going through treatments.

"You don't really know what the best thing is. For Mia, the best thing for her, at the end, was that she didn't have to go through more suffering," she continues. "And that was her miracle."

Villegas acknowledges that "nobody wants to be sick" or "go through those nights at the hospitals," but notes, "at the same time, we're thankful that those hospitals and those doctors are there."

"We honor our little one's name, and what better way of doing it than helping others?" he says of Mia's Miracles, whose mission is "to provide blessings" and "spread happiness during unforeseen circumstances," for "marginalized families in the U.S. and Colombia," according to the foundation's website.

Camilo Villegas
Camilo Villegas on June 10
| Credit: Stan Badz/PGA TOUR/Getty

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PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan issued a statement in July about Villegas' loss, confirming that Mia had died in Miami. "The PGA Tour is deeply saddened having lost a member of our family, Mia Villegas," said Monahan. "We grieve with Camilo and Maria and our thoughts and prayers are with the Villegas family."

During a Nov. 19 interview following his round at the RSM Classic on St. Simons Island, Georgia, the professional golfer recalled seeing a natural phenomenon that morning that reminded him of Mia.

"It was kind of nice this morning," said Villegas. "I got on the range and see a little rainbow out there. I start thinking about Mia and said, 'Hey, let's have a good one.' "

"I'm not going to say it doesn't distract me, but like I said, when I got on the range and I saw a rainbow [I thought], 'Hey, listen, here it is,' " he continued. "She loved colors and rainbows and my wife was all about it. And it was cool. It was a nice way to start the day."

Those who wish to donate to the couple's foundation, named in Mia's honor, can do so at mias-miracles.org.