When the Pearce family received the news two-year-old Ava had an ependymoma brain tumour in November 2018, their lives changed forever.
It took months to diagnose, with numerous trips to the emergency department with mystery symptoms including vomiting and head tilting. Then an MRI discovered a tumour the size of a small orange growing inside her brain.
As some of the tumour was attached to her brain stem, surgery was only able to remove 95% of the tumour. And so it continued to grow, requiring further surgery and 33 rounds of radiation.
Then some good news, the tumour had stabilised and the family entered a period of watchful waiting, with Ava attending scans every three months. However, at the eleven-month mark, their hopes were shattered when scans revealed further growth. After another surgery showed that the tumour was completely attached to the brain stem, Ava went through further radiation treatment and a chemotherapy trial.
Despite the family’s unwavering strength and Ava’s incredible bravery, the battle against brain cancer proved insurmountable. In October 2022 Ava passed away, she was just six-years-old.
No family should have to go through what Ava's has, and no child should have to battle brain cancer.
Ava's family have been fundraising and raising awareness in Ava's memory, and this year they have created a Connor's Run team.