Gia Mantegna, the daughter of actor Joe Mantegna, took to social media to honor her older sister Mia who has autism on her birthday.
“I remember it hit my wife and me like a ton of bricks, because, first of all, it was just a word we had heard about."
The 71-year-old actor has two daughters, Mia and Gia, with his wife Arlene Vrhel, whom he married in October 1975.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY ANGEL SISTER MIA!!! I LOVE YOU MORE THAN KITTENS AND PICKLES AND APEROL SPRITZES!!!!"
Arlene Mantegna and Joe Mantegna at the Sportman's Lodge on February 1, 2014 in Studio City, California | Photo: Getty Images
Previously, Joe opened up about Mia's state of health and the struggle his family encountered when they found out about it.
Mia had to be delivered by an emergency C-section because of an infection in her umbilical cord.
While the actor was in New York City, he and Arlene got the opportunity to watch the little child socializing with other children her age.
When the couple noticed that little Mia's speech was not at the same level as the other children, and there were issues with attention span and focus, they decided to see a neurologist.
Joe and his wife were shocked when the doctor told them that their daughter is autistic.
“I remember it hit my wife and me like a ton of bricks, because, first of all, it was just a word we had heard about," the actor said.
Nonetheless, when they overcame the initial shock, they set out to do whatever they could, and it paid off.
Mia grew up into a beautiful and brilliant lady. She now works as a bookkeeper at her mother's restaurant, Taste Chicago. She also did some acting in high school, yet her true love is makeup.
His famous father Joe is now lending his celebrity voice to autism awareness and charities.