1 Year On
This week marks the first anniversary of Ava's sudden and near fatal illness. We, her parents, look back on that dreadful day in Waikato Hospital's ICU with numbness and disbelief that our beautiful daughter was being attacked by an unknown infection and there was nothing we could do to stop it. We will never forget the Head Consultant's words to us that Ava may not survive the illness and to be prepared to say goodbye to her. About eight weeks earlier I fought back the tears when reading an article by Michael Laws about his then 3 year old daughter Lucy's illness and her miniscule chances of survival. At the time I tried to imagine how a parent would even begin to cope when placed in that position. I was so thankful to have two healthy children. Little did I know that in the very near future I would be on the receiving end of those same words no parent wishes to hear.
So how do you cope when a child is staring death down a barrel? It is impossible to describe unless you have been there. Ones own survival instincts kick in and you just have to walk the path not knowing where you are going to end up. Our path consisted of an almost 4 month stay at Starship during which time Ava faced many painful dressing changes (at times every alternate day), countless operations and therapy sessions - all of which broke our heart but in the process made us (and her) stronger. This had been followed by a long and at times frustrating and exhausting road to get Ava up walking again.
On the walking front, Ava is now onto her second pair of artificial limbs having outgrown her last pair at Easter. Her new right leg has a moveable knee which gives her greater freedom however she has had to learn a new way of walking. As a result we have lost some of the ground previously made. Incredibly, she worked out almost immediately the technique required to operate the knee. The downside is that having been 6 weeks without legs while they were being made, she is not keen to wear her new ones except at daycare where she gets upset when she has to take them off.
Ava's mobility surprises many and even we watch in amazement as she climbs up onto furniture that previously she was unable to. Ava has never once complained to us about not having legs or a hand. She just gets on and does things. She is an inspiration to her family and she continues to amaze us with her positive outlook and strength of character.
In addition to the wonderful organisations and businesses listed on Ava's thank you page, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us this past 12 months. Our family and friends have been instrumental in helping us to help Ava. We also wish to give our sincere thanks to our employers, Patton Ltd and Tompkins Wake who kept our jobs open for us and were supportive of us. There have many people and organisations who have sent Ava gifts and donated generously to her appeal. We thank each and everyone of you.
Finally, to Ava and Hamish - you are the most wonderful children and we are so proud of you both.
Bridget and Stuart
Thank You - ACC & Brian Perry Civil
On 9 April 2009 two wonderful organisations held fundraising activities to raise money for Ava. The first was the team at ACC based at Te Rapa, Hamilton who held a mufti day and raised over $470. The second was the site team at Brian Perry Civil based at Mt Wellington, Auckland who held a sausage sizzle and raffle on the Grafton bridge and raised $320. We wish to pass on our sincere thanks and gratitude to both organisations for their generosity towards Ava. Special thanks to Joanna Smith (ACC) and Ron Ceaser (Brian Perry Civil) who organised the fundraising activities for their respective organisations. The generosity of these groups will make a real difference to Ava's future. Bridget and Stuart
Concert tickets on sale now
On Saturday the 25th of April there will be a fundraising concert for Ava as part of the Cambridge Autumn festival. The concert features Darcy Perry and $10 from every ticket sold will go towards Ava's appeal. Tickets are available from the Cambridge Information Centre or from Ticket Direct. Click HERE for the direct link to the Ticket Direct site.
Ava meets the Wiggles!
Ava received a special invitation to meet the Wiggles prior to the show on 31 March. In a backstage room, Ava eagerly awaited the arrival of her 'heroes', jiggling up and down on her seat with excitement. As Murray (Red), Jeff (Purple) and Sam (Yellow) entered the room, the enormity of the occasion set in and Ava turned 'shy' (even Mum and Dad were a bit star struck). Ava had her photo taken with the Wiggles (see photo gallery). By the end of the meet and greet, Ava had plucked up the courage to ask the whereabouts of the Blue Wiggle (Anthony who was getting ready for the show). A big thank you to Carolyn Hopkins, Sue Lock (Administration Mananger - Live Events from the Wiggles) and Anthony Field (Blue Wiggle) for arranging the once in a lifetime meeting for Ava and to Murray, Jeff and Sam who made Ava's year. Ava then took her seat in the theatre and was absolutely mesmerized throughout the show. The first thing she did when she got home - watch her Wiggles DVD.
Thank you - Kids Decor Co
For 2 weeks during March, Jason and Rebecca Buckley from Kids Decor Co very generously auctioned a large range of their stunning products on Trademe and donated all sale proceeds to Ava. From the two auctions they raised $4,500 - an absolutely amazing result. Our sincere thanks and gratitude to Jason and Rebecca for the huge effort they put into making the auctions such a success. Their kindness and generosity to Ava whom they have never met is a remarkable act of support and encouragement for our family. We hope that they in turn receive the support for their business that they so justly deserve. A big thank you also to everybody who participated in the auctions and helped make them such a sucessBridget and Stuart
Trademe Auction EXTENDED - Kids Decor
Jason and Rebecca from Kids Decor Co are very generously auctioning a large range of their stunning kids decor at low reserves on trademe. 100% of the proceeds are being donated to Ava's appeal fund. The range includes duvet sets, wall murals and self-adhesive wall appliques and borders which are removable and reusable (and can be applied to just about any smooth surface). The extended auction finishes 17 March.
Visit http://www.trademe.co.nz/ or click: http://www.trademe.co.nz/Members/Listings.aspx?member=2881575
Ava is continuing to make excellent progress with her walking. We visit the physiotherapist at the limb centre twice a week. Over the last week she has grown in confidence and is now walking unaided behind a walker. At home her brother will sit in a wooden trolley and she will push him around. She has come such a long way
Legs at Daycare
This week Ava took her legs to daycare for the first time. The legs were a real hit at mat time and Ava enjoyed showing them to the class. All the children gravitated towards her when the physiotherapist arrived to show the teachers how to fit the legs correctly. As soon as the first leg was on Ava was trying to stand up to show everyone what she could do. She stood at the play dough table which was full due to her presence (funnily enough all the kids sat down at the table).
The physiotherapist commented that Ava was taller than a lot of the children at daycare despite her artificial legs being shorter than what her own ones would have been.
Fundraising concert for Ava
As part of the Cambridge Autumn festival there will be a concert for Ava in the Cambridge Town Hall on Saturday April 25th. The Darcy Perry Band will be playing and donating $10 of every ticket sold to Ava's appeal. More details to follow....
On Wednesday 18 February Ava's daycare held a "Purple Day" to assist with her fundraising. All of the children wore purple clothes or accessories, including the boys. The entire daycare was decked out in purple balloons and streamers and even the teachers wore matching purple polo shirts and hats. There were lots of purple activities. Even the paint and play dough were purple. Lunch was Ava's favourite lunchtime food - marmite sandwiches, fairy bread and jelly and ice-cream (purple of course).
The day was a huge success raising an amazing $730. Thank you to the daycare families and staff for giving so generously to Ava.There are three highlights from the day we would like to share as they demonstrate the kindness and generosity in our community
1. Bella's mum made Ava the most spectacular purple dinosaur cake. See the photos in the gallery.
2. Emma who donated her entire piggy bank to Ava
3. Ben who bought Ava a beautiful purple dress for her special dayAva had a wonderful day. We would like to sincerely thank all the children, parents and staff for making it such a memorable day for her.