Update: Esther shared the incredible news that Ava’s PET scans came back clean! On the Team Brighter Days Facebook page, she writes: “Looks like we are headed to transplant in the next few weeks! The doctors talked to us today about how this is just the first step in the process. Remember that 5-10% chance of survival? Those are still our odds. We should celebrate in measure. … Thank you so much for taking this first step with us across the treacherous terrain towards a cure for Ava Bright Lee!”
A little bit of prayer can go a long way, and a Chicago girl needs the worlds’ right now.
According to the National Cancer Institute, 10,380 children will be diagnosed with new cases of cancer in the United States in 2016, and of these, 1,250 are expected to die from the disease. While these statistics are jolting, they are actually promising — due to advances in medicine, the overall survival rates are 90 percent, up from 10 percent just 50 years ago.
In 2014, when Ava Bright Lee was just 5 years old, she was admitted to the hospital for persistent fevers and skin infection that refused to heal. Within days her family learned that she had a rare form of leukemia — biphenotypic leukemia that has characteristics of both AML and ALL.
She received a cord blood transplant and the family was hopeful for her future, however, one year ago the family learned that she had relapsed with a rare type of relapse — only in the skin. In months the cancer spread to her marrow and in the form of tumors all throughout her body as well as into her central nervous system.
According to statistics, Ava should have only lived 3 to 12 months with her diagnosis, but a year later she is still fighting for her life and at a crossroads.
According to Ava’s mother, the family will find out today at noon, during a PET scan, if her daughter is a candidate for a transplant. If there are any tumors in her body, a transplant will officially be off the table and the family will take their daughter home on palliative measures.
That’s where we come in.
“I told Ava about our crossroads today,” Ava’s mother, Esther, wrote in a post that has gone viral on the Team Brighter Days Facebook page, where she has been chronicling her journey.
“She lay there with tears streaming down her face. ‘No. I don’t want to go home without a transplant. The doctors can’t help me and there’s nothing I can do to make myself better,’ she cried out in frustration and terror while wiping her tears with shaking little hands.”
The two proceeded to pray.
“I continued to cry and pray as I laid next to her. Soon I felt her hand gently patting my back. ‘Please don’t cry, Mama. You are breaking my heart.’ That’s my girl, Ava.”
In the accompanying video, Ava asks for the world to pray for her.
“A few days ago, I promised Ava that I would share about her journey far and wide so that many people would begin to pray for her,” Esther continues.
“She smiled and answered, ‘Until the whole world knows?’ Yes. That. The thing is, this story is not about Ava. She is a small part in a bigger story of love, redemption, and healing. The true story is about God. It’s about His love, His faithfulness, His glory, His grace, His never-ending hope. So we will share it until our final breath. Until the whole world knows.”
The video has been shared nearly 2K times and viewed over 103K, with prayers coming in from around the world.
Please have Ava in your prayers today, and feel free to add your well-wishes to her on Facebook as well.