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Mother of Mia Kanu, woman who died after falling out of car, launches foundation in her memory

Posted at 8:49 PM, Jun 02, 2024

(WXYZ) — It’s been a little under a year since the story of a Southfield woman who died after falling from a moving car, rocked not only the community, but made national headlines.

Her mother, Bianca VanMeter, says since the tragedy she has searched for a new way forward to provide her grief an outlet.

And from that The Mia Kanu Foundation was born.

“It’s something we had planned," says VanMeter. “To help young girls, Mia and I had talked about it before.”

The Mia Kanu Foundation held its inaugural kickoff on Sunday at the Detroit Zoo. Its goal is to empower “young women through scholarship, mentorship service and lasting connection,” her mother says.

Before Kanu died, she joined the National Association of Colored Women’s Club (Women of Empowerment) at Tennessee State University. VanMeter says her daughter adored the support the group gave her and she felt starting a foundation with the same principles would be the perfect way to honor her.

“I think that helping young women and empowering them, is the way we want lead this foundation,” she said.

On June 3 of last year, VanMeter says 23-year-old Mia was riding in the backseat of her friend’s car after leaving a house party, before falling out the vehicle. She said her daughter was found lying in the middle of the road in front of the Coach House Apartments on Providence Drive in Southfield.

Authorities said, Kentia Fearn, who VanMeter said was Kanu’s friend and had been staying with her before the incident, was driving the vehicle and did not stop when Kanu fell out.

Kanu was rushed to Ascension Providence Hospital in Southfield, where she remained on life support for two days. She was officially declared deceased on June 5, but because Kanu was an organ donor, she was put back on life support until June 8, when the hospital held a walk of life for her.

At the event, volunteers from Gift of Life Michigan spoke.

“I’m here because after receiving my double lungs, I am very thankful for my organ donor,” said Deborah Deering. “I just wanted to make sure we acknowledge a donor and encourage, engage, educate and empower people to become organ donors.”

Fearn was charged for drunk driving and for leaving the scene of an accident-causing death. VanMeter says she hopes to see the case go to trial.

Additionally, VanMeter says Kanu was also studying to become a veterinarian while attending TSU. She had a cat named Tails and worked at Richland Animal Clinic in Tennessee.

“She loved animals,” her mother said. “She has two benches at the zoo, one donated by Beaumont Hospital and another from another family.”

And while VanMeter says having her daughter’s life continuing to be honored, the pain of not having her anymore is still there.

“I’m hurting still,” VanMeter said. “I think about her every day ... and we’re still fighting for her, fighting for justice and I think that just keeping her name out there and doing the good things that she was doing with community service and with her school, I think keeping her name alive is important."

To learn more information on how to support the Mia Kanu Foundation, visit www.miakanufoundation.org.