North Valley mom thanks Barrow for newfound calm

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Amie Miksta relaxes in the shade. The task comes easier to her these days, after a whirlwind, arduous bout with brain cancer.

Her Instagram is @aminspirational, a play on her first name and her friends’ description of her.

“I’ve been through a lot,” says Miksta, a former teacher who lives near Desert Ridge Marketplace. “A lot of people get very saddened, but I try to inspire.

“I’m always very calm. Some people don’t want to do their MRIs. It’s too much for them. The machines are very loud. I just say my prayers to the people who are in heaven. Before this, I wasn’t exactly like this. This has totally changed me.”

Eleven weeks pregnant with her second child, Miksta had a seizure—a word she will not and cannot say to this day—on Thanksgiving 2017.

“I went to the bathroom, came back to my husband and hopped in bed,” she says. “I started going nonsensical. I don’t say that word.”

After she was rushed to the hospital, she was transferred to Barrow Neurological Institute, where, five days later, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“I went through a lot of pain, but I didn’t worry about it. I knew that’s what I had to go through,” she says. “I stayed at my 500% person of happiness. I knew I would see my family. I was just so calm. I’d see my family crying, and I didn’t understand it.”

Miksta attributes her successful treatment and her calm nature to Barrow Neurological Institute’s staff. She supports the Barrow Million Dollar Raffle, formerly known as the Barrow Health & Wealth Raffle, which runs through December 31.

This year’s raffle offers $50 tickets, which support the institute’s patient care, research and education.

This year’s prizing has 100 $500 winners, five $100,000 winners, and the grand prize of $1 million.

Since the raffle began in 2003, it has raised more than $60 million for the institute.

“At Barrow, we believe doing good has its rewards,” says Katie Cobb, president of Barrow Neurological Foundation.

“Every single ticket is its own microcosm of good—from our patients, to our employees, to our players. Not only can you win up to $1 million cash, but every ticket you buy makes a difference for those affected by the most challenging brain and spine disorders at the Barrow Neurological Institute. If you ask us, that’s a win-win.”

To purchase tickets, visit

Miksta feels “absolutely, truly saved” by Barrow.

“I went in there and I didn’t know what was going on with my body,” she says. “When I got to Barrow, the computers showed my brain, but I didn’t know it was my brain.

“I figured out that it was my brain and it was going through something. I immediately gave myself strength and kept being brave and being strong. (The staff) held my hands and gave me the strength I needed by just holding my hands. I went into MRIs, and that was no big deal for me.”

Miksta’s father has purchased tickets for the last three years.

“My dad is wonderful and donates and, when they’re having their raffle and doing anything, he makes sure he participates,” says Miksta, who’s now in remission. “They’ve done such great for my body, brain and tumor.”

Miksta is now willing to help anyone in any situation that troubles them—especially in the time of COVID-19.

“So many people are just going through issues in their lives,” Miksta says. “I know that some are small, some are big. Some are losing family members, whether it be to sickness or anything. I’m ready to help.” 

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