my daughter, ava lieber
"Ava is a total cheeky monkey! She has a very good sense of humor for a 3 year old. She loves playing tricks on people and loves to laugh. She is also VERY determined and feisty! She knows exactly what she wants and doesn't really like to be flexible about things. She has a smile that lights up the world and loves to know what is going on with everything at all times.
"When Ava was 17 months old she still wasn't walking and started to regress in her development. At first we thought she was being lazy and just wanted to be carried but she soon started to slow down enough that we were concerned. We decided to take her to our pediatrician. We originally thought maybe she had hyper mobility and that was the reason she wasn't walking. Our pediatrician took one look at her and told us to go to the ER. He didn't tell us at the time but he said he just felt like something wasn't right. They admitted Ava and did an MRI a couple of days later and was diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma, which is a tumor in the cerebellum or the lower back portion of the brain. Ava's cancer had also spread to her spine and brain fluid so it was at the worst possible stage when she was diagnosed. They immediately rushed Ava into surgery after her MRI to relieve the pressure off of her brain. 2 days later she had a 12 hour surgery to remove her tumor. She was 17 months old at the time of her diagnosis. Our family, though originally from Utah, was living in Switzerland at the time so she was treated for cancer in Switzerland. Ava had 8 rounds of chemo therapy and 2 rounds of high dose chemo therapy with 2 stem cell inductions. We stayed a total of 160 overnight days in the hospital with around 200 visits total to the hospital in the year she was treated.
"Ava has been cancer free for 18 months. She has MRI checks every 3 months and we hold our breath during each checkup hoping and praying her cancer doesn't come back. We live our life from MRI to MRI to the fullest and don't take one moment we have with Ava for granted.
"If there is one thing I could tell the public about childhood cancer it is that cancer never "goes away" and these kids will never be completely healthy and normal. Although Ava currently doesn't have active cancer, but the effects of her cancer will be with her as long as she lives. So far she suffers from profound hearing loss and late development and we expect to add to this list as time goes on.
"Ava is a true example of resilience. She faced her cancer with more bravery than I have even known and we are so grateful for each day she is with us."