In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, it is UNTOLD’s privilege to introduce you to Ava.  What a beautiful young lady.  Ava, we are cheering you on!  #SURVIVORstrong…


She walked past the oncology sign not noticing the direction the arrow was pointing and not realizing it was the very same direction they were headed.   As she walked past several kids who had no hair, she looked at them and they looked back at her as if they knew the news she was about to receive. They too had been ‘her’ at one point.


Her name was Ava.  She was told to wait and have a seat.


With her legs not quite touching the floor she swung them back and forth not quite understanding what was about to unfold.


When she heard the diagnosis, she couldn’t fully understand what being said.   She heard the words, but how was it possible he was talking about her?  What he was describing had to be a mistake.  It simply had to be about someone else, right?  “A rare form of Osteosarcoma in her right leg and cancer spots in both of her lungs.”

With tears streaming down her cheeks, heard them describe treatment strategy.  It would begin right away.  She kept thinking to herself, ‘Why me? Why did this happen to me?” She felt at that moment her life was ruined.


To help shrink the tumor in her leg, she started chemotherapy right away.  Three months later, the surgeons gave her a full knee replacement, cut out part of her tibia and removed the primary tumor in her leg. The removed tibia was radiated at the Cross Cancer Institute and put back into her leg.  It was a procedure rarely done.   She had knew she had weeks of healing time before chemo began again. Then came double lung surgery to remove cancer from her lungs.


The hospital was her home away from home for a while.  Every milestone and success for Ava, was the physician and hospital success as well.


Soon after her diagnosis, the hospital provided beads to create a necklace.   The beads represented Ava’s journey and with every appointment, needle, x-ray, chemo treatment, surgery and success, she got to pick out a bead. Her favorite bead was the sparkly one.  That particular bead represented the news she received that the chemo was working and shrinking the spots in her lungs.


While she was recovering in the hospital, Ava got to know the other patients but one specific boy caught her attention. She would see him everyday and notice how sad he was. After awhile, she began to see he was a reflection of her and how she felt every day as well.


That was a defining moment for Ava.


She realized her outlook on life was her choice to make. She could continue feeling sad for herself and missing out on dance, friends, events, or she could choose to be happy despite her circumstances. Ava may not have been able to control what happened to her, but it was her choice on how she sees the world.


Ava’s journey has not been easy and even though her treatments are over, it’s only just begun. Her leg hurts and her mobility is still limited, but she is here.  That’s all that matters to her now.


Her goal?  One day, she wants to dance again.


In the meantime, Ava has discovered her love of singing and playing the ukulele. She does volunteer work at the hospital as a way of giving back. Ava talks to kids and families affected by cancer and offers words of advice and encouragement. She speaks about her story to everyone because she wants people to know the power of positive thoughts and how your attitude makes a difference in healing.


One day, she will be back on that stage again.  And that is where Ava knows she belongs.


#beadedjourney #cancerawarness #scarsproject #everyonehasastory #bekind #courage #hope #Positivethoughtsmakeadifference #stolleryhospital #kidswithcancer