Countless people have told me I'm crazy! They tell me running the Boston Marathon and Riding the Pan Mass Challenge is too much. Its too much physically and its too much to ask our family and friends for that much support! im not sure if these individuals have met me but in my mind its all been accomplished! My feet have crossed the finish lines and my fundraising minimums have been met! Ava's Army has never let me down!
So today as I literally walk eun on the treadmill I call out to each and every member of Ava's Army and every members friends and family because we are going to have an additional ask this year. Jeff (Yes my husband Jeff ) has signed up to also ride in the Pan Mass Challenge to honor AVA...... So as you show your support I ask you to keep in mind we have 3 asks this year and divide your donations between the Boston Marathon as well as the 2 Pan Mass accounts.
For those of you who dont know our story:
Ava was only 5 when we heard the news that we were within hours of loosing her. Hearing the words "your daughter has a brain tumor" turned our lives upside down! 6 words that when joined together formed a perfect storm of cataclysmic proportions! Life would never be the same!
The doctors initially gave us 3-6 months max. With few treatment options at that time we began searching the country and found a promissing target therapy program . in a matter of a week Jeff and Ava were moved half way across the country to Clevland Ohio.
They would spend the next 4-6 months there while Ava was recieving high doses pf target treatment. Ella and I commutted back and forth every week. Because Ava also came back and forth often we needed a second hospital local to care for her. This is when we found our second family at Mass General Hospital!
Dr. Ebb accepted and adopted her treatment plan and the staff quickly embraced our family eventhough they wernt her primary care givers. I cant tell you how many times they dropped everything and were there for us when we had an emergency. This couldnt be made clearer than when Cleveland Clinic closed their Target Therapy program just when Ava was doagnoses with her 1st recourance.
Dr. Ebb and his teM didnt miss a step. They jumped in and took over her treatment even developing a new Target therapy yreatment plan when her new tumor testing came back. Mass General quickly became our new second home.
Ava would be diagnosed with a second recourrance several months later. We knew this was a game changer and we were batteling for quality time at this point. The team always kept Ava at the center of everything they did. We were always made to feel as if we were their only family.
I cant tell you how many people asked why we chose MGH for her Care and I can only say I can't immagine being anywhere else! Its like asking why did you choose your particular home? It just felt right! In fact the staff almost makes you feel like you are family.
Ava gained her wings in June of 2016 and I've now run the Boston Marathon twice in an effort to raise awareness and give back to the hospitall. At the end of the day I can honestly say that no matter what I do I can never repay the care she recieved there.; but with each mile I run and each time I do something to recognize MGH I can feel like I've honored Ava in some way.
Lastly most of you have seen posts on my page discussing my Personal Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. As if Ava's treatments in Cleveland wern't bad enough it was there that I was diagnosed in full MS flare . i was dizzy, having headaches, had numbness from my neck down and was tripping and falling becUse I would loose my ability to know which way was up and which was down. I've been on treatments now since 2014 and am in better health now than I have been in my whole life. Anyone who knows what MS is knows that uncontrolled MS will take ones ability to walk. For this reason I also use my fundraising challenges to keep me active. Over the next 101 days I will run hundreds of miles training for this marathon. Theough the pain I will find greater strength and prove to this disease that it will not take me! Enough has been taken from us and I will be damned if I will allow my independance to be part of that list!
If you are still reading I want to take a moment to Thank Tou from the bottom of my heart for all of your past support as well as your continued support. It doesnt take allot to make a big difference. No donation is too small....! If 100 people eaxh donated $5 to each of the 3 causes it would equal $1,500. Now if each of mine and Jeff's combined 8000 friends each commites to donating $5 to each of the 3 fundraisers we would raise a staggering $120,000 so you can see how quickly small amounts add up.
My final ask is to set asside a little time and explore the Ava's Army Facebook page once more. Although Jeff and I haven't spent much time keeping it active we will be using it more going forward. The memories , stories and pictures can only remind us of where we've been but they can also serve to give our journey a continued voice. Hopefully one that will continue to make a difference. So while you search around please Please PLEASE like and share whatever moves you and in doing so you will be introducting Your friends and family to Ava and helping give her journey a voice!
So many Thank Yous and Love
Michael, Jeff, Ella & Angel Ava