You could say Mia Echols, of Radford,  has a heart for nursing.  At 26 years old, you’d never know this petite, articulate, dedicated New River Community College nursing student bears a physical scar that to the average person might indicate a challenge.  But to her, it’s really no big deal. In fact, it’s her motivation.

Originally from Danville, the daughter of a single mom and sister to an identical twin, Mia’s first days of life weren’t quite as normal as most infants.  After spending some time in the neonatal intensive care unit after her birth, which isn’t all that uncommon in twins and preemies, Mia was diagnosed with pulmonary valve stenosis, a congenital heart defect typically found at birth. As a result of her diagnosis, she had to undergo open heart surgery as a preemie and then again in fifth grade.

In 2015, she underwent another surgery, and this time…

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