Sutphin family members with children of Nyumbani and Protus Lumiti, local director - Karen, Kenya in 2007
Mia Sutphin was an ordinary person who lived in an extraordinary way, using her passion for nursing to serve children in need in the US, India and Kenya.
On May 19, 2002, 27-year old Mia Helene Sutphin, died of a reaction to medication she was taking to combat malaria. She was volunteering at an orphanage for HIV-infected children in Kenya at the time. Creating a foundation in her name has helped her family and friends remember Mia and how she touched so many lives. Born in 1974 as the fifth child in a family of seven children, Mia soon developed her own unique individual style. As a volunteer candy striper in her teens, Mia found she truly enjoyed spending time with the older patients. She also volunteered at a homeless shelter. These experiences confirmed her decision to pursue a degree in nursing at University of Delaware.

Upon graduating as a Registered Nurse, Mia accepted a position as a school nurse in Aurora, Colorado. While the pay was not as good as in a hospital, Mia wanted to work with children. She also volunteered her time teaching health and sex education to young single mothers, but a desire to volunteer abroad was growing inside of her. 

Photos of Mia Sutphin

After connecting with the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) in 1999, Mia embarked on an eight month volunteer assignment at a hospital in Bihar, India. The 300-bed facility was filled with very ill patients, suffering from diseases such as malaria, leprosy, and tuberculosis.  Despite several illnesses and five days in the hospital hooked up to IVs, Mia’s spirit was never daunted. When she returned home, Mia found an equally challenging and rewarding position.  She spent two years working in the University Maryland’s Neo-Natal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units. She also saved enough money during this time for another assignment abroad. She found her next calling at an orphanage for HIV-infected children in Nairobi, Kenya. She spent months pursuing this assignment and was ultimately selected.
Mia left for Kenya in March 2002 to utilize her nursing skills on another overseas mission. After 10 weeks at the orphanage, she had learned the name of all 80 children. She would make the rounds to all six cottages to say goodnight to her charges and took extra care with two boys who were too sick to join the others. Mia created a mural on a wall in the boys room with figures representing all of the children and named it, "Our Children of Nyumbani". The mural will remain there permanently. 
Mia once wrote, "Resurrection is bringing back into memory, a time to reflect on how someone had touched the lives of others."
Since that early morning of May 19th changed our lives forever, Mia’s family and friends have had many opportunities to reflect on the many lives, including their own, that Mia touched in her 27 short years. They have also been inspired to carry on Mia’s good work in as many ways as possible.
With Mia as our example, we ask, “What can we do to help others?” The Mia Sutphin Foundation is just one of the ways we hope ensure that Mia’s good works continue for years to come.