a wish for ava

Rest in Peace beautiful little angel AVA

no more pokes, transfusions, fevers, transplants, morphine, hospital stays, etc...

no more pain
9.23.03 --- 4.17.07

Ava's story began sometime in mid-march, 2006.  she had just emerged from a bubble bath, all giggly and warm.  she was looking for daddy.  as she ran down our long hallway, she stumbled and fell as most toddlers do sometimes.  she started to limp as she gingerly took some steps.  ava started to tell us her right knee hurt that evening, so we decided to take her to an orthopedist the next day.  after taking an x-ray and prescribing some rest & relaxation, we took her home.  a few weeks passed and her knee didnt seem to feel any better.  there was no swelling, nor bruising.  we thought it was odd that she still be in pain for so long, so we then decided to take her on easter sunday to the ER at cedars-sinai medical center.  blood was drawn, and we were told that there was some sort of inflammation going on inside her body, and that she needed to be admitted right away. thus began a 32 day hospital stay.

ava's life then took a dramatic turn, at just 2 1/2 years of age.

after tons of x-rays, mri's, ct scans, bone scans, mibg tests, a surgery, bone marrow biopsies, etc...we were told at first that it was probably a blood infection.  certain markers were done, and one by one, they turned the results away from that initial diagnosis...on april 20th, (daddy's birthday) we were told that she had a type of cancer called neuroblastoma.  a large tumor the size of a softball had formed on her right adrenal gland.  the cancer had also spread into her bones and bone marrow, it was stage 4. 
the odds for a child to get this type is 1 out of 400,000.  (we have yet to meet another child that has this type of cancer.) how could this happen?  there were no signs that she was sick, there was no protruding lump, though the tumor was the size of a softball, no history of cancer in either family...they told us that no one knows where this type of cancer comes from.
we were in shock and totally devastated.
ava fights this disease with all her might.  she remains in great spirits despite her illness.  she often states that she wishes her cancer bug will go away so that she can have long hair again. she sometimes tells us that she isnt a girl anymore, since girls have hair. when she smiles and laughs while chemotherapy drugs run through her veins, she radiates hope.
her treatment has no determined end date. 
our insurance company has billed over two million dollars in medical treatments so far.

after several rounds of chemotherapy, blood & platelet transfusions, surgery,  tests, mri's, x-rays, stem-cell transplant and countless days and nights at the hospital, we just learned that her latest test showed that she still has cancer in about 80% of her body. she now has to go on experimental treatments, many which are only partially covered by insurance or cancer organizations.

ava passed away on april 17th, 2007