Ava's Story: Childhood Cancer Awareness

Ava's Story: Childhood Cancer Awareness

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. We are donating a portion of profits (part of our 10% of profits to kids & planet initiative) to the HayesTough Foundation. They are dedicated to providing financial support & hope to families affected by childhood cancer.

Ava's Story

In August 2015, our 17-month-old baby girl, Ava, was diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma, a stage 4 malignant brain tumor. How could a 17-month-old have cancer? It didn’t seem right.

Immediately, Matt and I went to work making Ava’s cancer experience and hospital stay as fun as we could. That’s all we could do. When your biggest nightmare hits, you have a choice. You can run and hide, or you can face it with all the joy and light you can muster.

Ava has spent a total of 155 overnight days in the hospital, and most of those days were spent in isolation. Her body and immune system were so weak that she wasn’t allowed out of her room. Imagine your not-quite 2-year-old being stuck in a hospital room for months on end. Even though she was an extremely sick little kid, instead of feeling sorry for herself, when Ava felt better, she just wanted to play and have fun.

Ava had a port in her head where the doctors would inject chemo directly into her brain once a day. Ava had over 15 surgeries (we stopped counting at 15). 8 rounds of high-intensity chemo along with 2 rounds of high dose chemo with 2 stem cell inductions. The high dose chemo was so viscous that it burned Ava's skin and for 3 weeks we not only had to treat her for cancer but also her burns. She has had countless port accessed, finger pricks, injections, IV's and many other medical procedures to rid her of this beast of a disease.  

Today, Ava is doing well but we have learned that cancer never really goes away. Ava will be living with the long term effects of her cancer for the rest of her life. She currently suffers from hearing loss, fine motor disfunction, gross motor delays (she is 5 but has the physical ability of a 2.5-year-old), and several liver problems. 

Ava is a miracle. Ava shouldn’t be alive but she is and we are so grateful for each day we have with her.

Special thank you to Kady, Ava's mom, for providing us with Ava's story and allowing us to share it. 

PS: Their own brand, Tava Adventures, donates ALL proceeds from their Pins for Hope to Childhood Cancer. They're really cool. Please consider buying one.

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