February 11, 2013:
The initial focus of our "Gifting Back" program is Ava.
Ava was diagnosed with a high grade neuroepithelial brain tumor on October 22, 2012 (found in the right temporal lobe). Three weeks before Ava's diagnosis, she began having staring seizures which led her family to take her to her pediatrician. The pediatrician began to think that maybe this was something she would possibly grow out of in her early teen years; but, to be on the safe side, the pediatrician ordered an EEG. The EEG was done and during the test, they actually got Ava to have a seizure by blowing (hyperventilating) on a pinwheel. Her seizure lasted for over a minute and since her EEG came back abnormal, the pediatrician ordered an MRI. This is when the tumor was discovered.
The family found out about the tumor on a Monday, met with a neurosurgeon the next day (Tuesday) and she was scheduled for surgery on Thursday, October 25th, of the same week. Dr. Frederick Boop at Le Bonheur was able to make a complete resection of the tumor; but, because of the aggressiveness of the tumor, she had to immediately undergo radiation and chemotherapy. Ava's first day of chemotherapy was November 13th and her first day of radiation was November 14th. Ava went through a 6 1/2 weeks of radiation and oral chemotherapy, followed by two other kinds of chemotherapy that will be up to one year of treatment.
Ava's MRI scan on January 17, 2013 came back clear of any tumor but Ava still needed to begin her IV chemotherapy and another round of oral chemotherapy on January 23, 2013. She continues to battle as I write this.
Brain tumors are the most common form of solid tumors and affect over 1,500 children each year in the United States. We encourage you to visit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation here or the Children's Hospital here to learn more and get involved.
Shotwell Candy Co. will donate 10% of our sales to Ava and her family during the month of February. If you would like to follow Ava's story you can do so by following a Facebook page set up in Ava's honor here. You can also donate directly to Ava's cause here.