What's Up Wednesday -- Ava
#WhatsUpWednesday is our chance to hear from the teens and young adults who are involved with the Speak Now for Kids community. This week’s post will focus on 15-year-old Ava.
You may remember Ava from her participation in this year’s Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day. For those who know the happy and confident 15-year-old, it may come as a surprise that she was once a short-tempered little girl. Ava was suffering through headaches nearly every day of her life and occasional nausea. At age 8, Ava was diagnosed with juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma, a rare, often benign, brain tumor that strikes in childhood.
Today, while Ava is headache-free, she continues to work on her mobility and processing speed with the help of Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital’s staff of physical therapists, occupational therapists and child life therapists (the final being her favorite because they usually play music and sing with her during therapy).
So Ava… what’s up?
Why do you advocate Our government needs to better understand medically complex kids so they can fight for us to have the medical coverage we need.
Favorite moment from the 2018 family advocacy day Meeting so many different kids from around the nation and exchanging trading cards with them.
What my children’s hospital means to me Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital has such a strong love for children and cares so much about us.
What I want the world to know about my condition Juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma is very painful to overcome. I had a lot of doctors with me in the hospital making sure I didn’t die, thankfully. I've had a lot of challenges to overcome, like learning to eat, speak, and walk again. I’m no longer dependent on my wheelchair, but I’m using a walker. Hopefully, I’ll be walking on my own someday soon.
What makes me unique The challenges I overcame the past few years made me unique because I went from being paralyzed to walking again. I also try to maintain a good attitude about everything. I love to make people laugh!
What I overcame I’ve overcome a lot in my life so far, such as learning to sit up, speaking, eating without a feeding tube, showering, and walking (I'm currently using a walker, which I’m hoping to get off of soon).
How do you plan to give back to the world I really want to bring clean water and food to Africa so the people there will not be thirsty and starving. That would be my dream! In the meantime, I would like to be a volunteer, a nurse, or child-life specialist at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital to help other kids.
What do you want to be when you grow up When I grow up I really want to work in business —maybe in human resource or sales, I'm not sure yet. I also want to have kids someday!
My favorite subject in school English because it’s really fun and it comes naturally for me!
What I’m most excited about for the upcoming school year I’m excited about learning new things I haven't studied before, like Theater Arts and American Government.
Each summer, we are truly amazed at the progress she has made-great, great strides gained by a fierce determination!
A few summers ago, Ava could hardly move and spoke few words. Each summer, with the help of other teen friends swimming and holding her afloat…and wearing floatation aids…she competed in the backstroke event in the meets.
THIS SUMMER…that AWESOME AVA SWAM THE ENTIRE EVENT WITHOUT ANY HELP OR ANY FLOATATION AIDS!!!! Everyone from both teams loudly cheered her on from around the entire pool. I can attest that there was hardly a dry eye, including this Crazy Coach Lynn!!
AVA- keep on smiling and keep puting one foot in front of the other…never look back. You are our inspiration.
We love you!🐸❤️🐸❤️🐸