In July of 2020 at the age of seven, Ava was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma. She loved going to the beach, playing with friends, golf lessons, guitar lessons, dancing and spending time with her family. While everyone’s world had been turned upside down due to the global pandemic, Ava’s family was even more devastated to learn that she was diagnosed with a rare pediatric cancer and she had a year and five months of intense treatment ahead of her.
Within 48 hours of her diagnosis, Ava required a COVID-19 test, tumor biopsy and had a chemo port surgically implanted in her chest. In the beginning, it was a struggle to get Ava out of the house for her treatment, as she was terrified of getting her port accessed. For weeks it was physically and emotionally draining, as it would take 30 to 45 minutes for her port access procedure, which was required for her weekly chemotherapy and blood tests.
One afternoon, Ava saw her mom watching an episode of Cobra Kai, which was featuring flashbacks of The Karate Kid. It was the karate tournament scene. From that point forward, Ava became fascinated with karate, and watched all of The Karate Kid movies. Last October, Ava’s family received an invitation from the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund to participate in a virtual karate class hosted by Kids Kicking Cancer. She loved it and was immediately hooked! Ava enjoys martial arts therapy twice a week via Zoom with her New York and Detroit senseis. She’s learned breathing techniques, called power breathing, to ease her anxiety. Ava has used her power breathing prior to MRIs and before taking medicine she didn’t like. She continues to use her power breathing any time she’s in an uncomfortable situation.
Kids Kicking Cancer has given her strength, courage and a group of new friends who know exactly what she is going through. Ava is looking forward to getting back to the activities she enjoyed prior to her diagnosis, continuing her martial arts therapy classes, and going back to school this fall. She loves her Heroes Circle family!