Ava Wake had just turned two when her parents Leanne and James noticed something was wrong. Their happy, sunny baby girl suddenly stopped sleeping, playing or walking and became inconsolable.
On April 5, James and Leanne, who is 33 weeks pregnant, took their daughter to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne for a full-body MRI.
“On the morning of the 7th we came into the room, and there were six doctors. As soon as I saw them, I knew it wasn’t good. They told us they had found tumours,” Leanne said.
After multiple medical appointments, they received the blow of their lives: little Ava is fighting Neuroblastoma, a very aggressive form of cancer with a terrifying prognosis.
They were shocked to learn that her best chance for survival is a new trial treatment only available at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City, which carries an extremely hefty $350,000 price tag.
Leanne and James are now desperately raising money for Ava to receive the life-saving treatment to help her live past the age of five. Despite amazing results, the vaccine is currently not receiving funding, leaving family and friends to come up with the money necessary for treatment as well as flights and accommodation for one year in America.
The still-smiling toddler is in the middle of her sixth round of chemotherapy and has already endured multiple extremely invasive surgeries, including having her ovaries removed and harvested, stem cells harvested, seven blood and platelet transfusions. She is in hospital three weeks a month, and the journey to recovery includes two years of ongoing treatments.