Meet our young warriors

Meet Ava – Leukemia Warrior

“Ava hasn’t let the weight of chemotherapy, side effects, and the horrible disease steal her shine or personality,” Ava's mom.

Ear infections are quite common among young children, but when 2 year-old Ava had three infections back -to -back, her parents made an appointment with a specialist. She was treated for ear infections and sent on her way. Shortly thereafter, Ava began experiencing unexplained hip and arm pain, so her parents took her to yet another specialist. Unfortunately, they were left with more questions than answers. When Ava suddenly lost the ability to walk, her parents rushed her to the hospital where she was immediately admitted. Ava’s parents and doctors were determined to find the cause and three days later, they finally knew what was wrong – Ava was fighting high risk pre B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Ava’s doctors sat down with her parents, Ashley and Brandon, to discuss who would stay with her full-time while she underwent treatment – something that hadn’t even crossed their minds. They knew their bank accounts would struggle immensely if one of them left their job, but they also knew how important it was to be with their baby girl. Unsure how they were going to make ends meet, their hospital social worker referred them to the NCCS to help with travel expenses due to the frequent trips to the hospital which were forty minutes each way from their home.

Ava endured countless days and nights in the hospital for intense treatment that included a bone marrow biopsy and chemotherapy.  She suffered from many side effects, including severe mouth sores and diaper rash, which lasted for months. When Ashley described the emotional toll she was feeling from her daughter’s diagnosis, her case manager sent her a free publication the NCCS offers designed specifically to help parents throughout their child’s cancer journey.

Ashley said, “Ava hasn’t let the weight of chemotherapy, side effects, and the horrible disease steal her shine or personality.” Thankfully, her side effects subsided and she is able to get back to having a happy, playful childhood. “We are so thankful to organizations like the NCCS and what they do for families like ours. I didn’t know what we would do or how we would do it,” Ashley shared.