|A snapshot that I took of Ava & Cynthia from this past weekend. We met up and took Ava & Caleb to paint pottery...the kiddos had a blast, as you can tell from the HUGE smile on Ava's sweet face!|
This is when I learned about WHY she had moved from Texas to Arizona...she and her family came here so that her daughter Ava could participate in a clinical trial at Phoenix Children's Hospital. You see, Ava was diagnosed early last December with a brain tumor...and not just any brain tumor, a special one called DIPG. This is a very rare and aggressive tumor. It can't be removed because of it's location, and while radiation is the standard method of treatment, the tumor will grow back and nothing can be done at that point except to make the child comfortable. 90% of children diagnosed with DIPG die within one year and the remaining children die within 3 years. (Source: Hope for Ava)
Ava is a fun-loving, sweet little 5 year old girl. She is just like any other 5 year old...she loves her mommy, daddy and little sister; she loves Scooby Doo and even named her own doggie Scooby; she loves anything pink & girlie, has tons of stuffed animals and loves to play with her Barbies and her Barbie Dream House; she loves art and coloring; and she is adorable and quick to smile.
At the end of June, because her disease has progressed, Ava and her family were given the devastating news that they were out of the clinical trial here in Arizona. They will be moving back home to Texas soon...but in the short time that I have known them, both Ava and Cynthia made an imprint on my heart.
Cynthia and Ava have changed me. Knowing them has made me slow down and take in the little moments and treasure them. Cynthia's strength and ability to smile in the midst of one the hardest trials that life could send her makes me strive for more...She makes me a better mother and a better wife and friend. She has inspired me to be more giving and less selfish. (Check out this blog post on giving back that she wrote.) I can honestly say that my life is better for knowing them and I thank God everyday that he brought them into my life.
To learn more about Ava and how you can help her and her family, please check out the blog DIPG - Hope for Ava. Cynthia is using this as a way to keep everyone updated on Ava, her disease and treatment, along with sharing special moments from their life. You can help them out by making a donation, leaving a kind word on a post or praying for their family. (You can also check out Ava's Facebook page here too!)
ps. I am participating in an online auction hosted by Morgan Kervin that went live this morning! All money raised in the auction will go directly to the Dawson family to help with the expenses of fighting Ava's brain tumor. I have donated a free mini-session, along with over 50 others that have donated items from across the United States. Please make sure to check it out and help out by bidding on an item if you can!