Ava is just a normal 5th grader who loves to ride horses and do anything outdoors. When her leg was sore one day, the thinking was that it could just be from playing too hard or riding horseback. When her leg started to get worse, they knew it was time to see a doctor.
The doctor discovered that there was a tumor on Ava’s right thigh, and immediately wanted it removed. When doctors removed what they thought was a benign tumor, they realized that they were wrong. Ava and Amber were in shock when they got the diagnosis: spindle cell carcinoma, a rare case in that some doctors had never seen before in a patient as young as Ava.
A new schedule of hospital stays and treatments became their routine. They had first starting driving up to Birmingham for weekly checkups as well as 8 rounds of chemo every 21 days. Coming from Mobile, this means approximately 8 hours of driving each trip, which is exhausting. Ava’s radiation started in December and is every single day for 33 days. This is when Ronald McDonald House stepped in to house Ava and her mother during treatment. There was now no need for Ava’s mom to worry about hotels, food, or hospital access, because all of it was taken care of. Amber states that it is hard being away from home, but “it’s so wonderful come back to a warm meal every night.”
Ava and her mom are very grateful for all that RMHCA does along with donors and volunteers who make this all possible.
“I couldn’t ask for a better place or better people,” Amber says.
Ronald McDonald Houses around the globe strive to be a home away from home, as well as an additional support system for patients and their families. Amber is thankful to have made friends with families who are are also staying at RMHCA, and that it is nice having people to talk to who are going through similar situations. She stays in touch with many other families through social media, even after they leave RMHCA. Ronald McDonald House is more than just a house, it’s a home.
“You don’t even realize what a playground does for us during the day. Because radiation only lasts a few minutes, we have an entire day to fill up and that’s where she wants to be, is outside” Amber says.
These are some of Ava’s favorite things at the House:
- Her new friends that she’s made here.
- The playground outside, especially the swing.
- The food. She loves the home-cooked meals!
- That she and her mom are able to stay together throughout this journey.
Ava and Amber will continue needing Ronald McDonald House’s support for future stays. Find out how you can help other kids like Ava! Check out the How Can You Help page to explore how you can make a difference in a family’s life.