When 6-year-old Ava Turner smiles at you, you immediately find yourself smiling back. And these days, Ava has a lot to smile about, thanks to Akron Children’s Hospital.
Akron Children’s has been in Ava’s life since the moment she was born, but she wasn’t initially a patient. Her older sister, Megan, has been coming to the Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders for more than 7 years to receive treatment for a blood disorder called neutropenia.
But things changed for Ava in 2011. After unexpectedly breaking her arm, she started feeling sick and experienced several bouts of infection.
Ava’s parents took her to Akron Children’s for testing, and that November, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a very aggressive blood and bone marrow cancer. She was 4 years old.
Ava immediately began an intense outpatient treatment program at Akron Children’s, right alongside her sister.
“Staff members were shocked when we came in for our first visit with Ava,” said Ava’s mother, Robin. “We went from having one child battling a potentially life-threatening illness to two. And what are the odds that they’d both need care from the exact same department?”
Throughout her treatment, Ava and her family gained strength from the expert care of her physicians and nurses, who soon became members of their “extended family.”
The Turners also experienced holistic healing through additional services like expressive therapy, counseling and palliative care.
“From the moment you walk through the doors, you feel how much the staff at Akron Children’s cares about your child’s recovery,” said Robin. “It’s hard to put into words what they do for patients and their families every single day – it’s a truly special place.”
Today, Ava is in remission and will receive her final dose of chemotherapy this month. Both she and her family look forward to a stronger, happier future thanks to their “extended family” at Akron Children’s.
Hear Ava’s full story by tuning in today to the 15th annual “Have a Heart, Do Your Part” Radiothon broadcast live on 98.1 WKDD.