More than 40 thousand children are treated for cancer in America every year.
Of that number, 12% don’t survive.
Emily Medalen tells us the story of one family who fought through every parents’ worst nightmare…
and how they’re using their experience to support others who are going through the same thing.
One year after giving birth to their second daughter, Jeremy and Amy Jacobs received the news that turned their world upside down.
Their 13 month old, Ava, had brain cancer.
After months that turned into years of constant trips to the hospital, dozens of surgeries, and hundreds of sleepless nights…
The Jacobs family decided to find, and become the silver lining… and here they are a decade later.
“It was very tough. Really tough,” says Amy Jacobs, Ava’s mom.
“You’re lost. You’re completely lost,” says Jeremy Jacobs, Ava’s dad.
That’s how Amy and Jeremy Jones felt when they got the news that their baby girl had cancer.
“I remember getting my blood drawn sometimes and walking around the hospital, and just not trying to think that I had cancer,” says Ava Jacobs, cancer survivor, age 12.
“They were honest. They said no one at 13 months should have her type, and to be honest, we don’t know what to tell you,” says Amy.
“The probability of survival was 5-10%,” says Jeremy.
Doctors told the Jones family that radiation on someone so young was likely to leave her in a wheelchair for life, potentially with lasting brain damage.
“You don’t know what to do – you just want to talk to someone who has been through it,” says Jeremy.
After doctors met with specialists around the world, they came up with a course for treatment for tiny Ava…
“Over a year of chemo, she did 25 brain radiation treatments, she’s been sedated 30, 40 times…” says Amy.
In what Amy and Jeremy call a miracle, they cured her.
They say it was because of this – that the idea for Bravehearts For Kids came to them.
The Jacobs started the web-based nonprofit to educate and support families dealing with pediatric cancer.
“To give other families not just hope, but mentoring, connection… you can get there. There can be a positive outcome. And even better, access to resources,” sas Jeremy.
Resources such as the 60 thousand organizations in the country that work to help kids with cancer in all sorts of ways.
“It’s honestly amazing to see people who are going through this stuff, and that we’re able to help them,” says Ava.
“You’re a miracle. You’re a survivor,” Amy said to Ava.
Their hope is that with the help of BraveHearts, every child diagnosed with cancer will have the courage to be Ava Brave.
Bravehearts for Kids is getting ready to launch their first app in September.
The app will give even easier access than the website to families going through the hardships of pediatric cancer- I’ll tell you how when the app is released in a few weeks.
To learn more or make a donation to the nonprofit group, click the link below.