I’m Ava and I want to share a little about Ava’s Avengers, but first I’d like to talk about my brother, Sam.
He was an amazing brother and amazing friend to everyone. He was always kind and put others first – like every time. When he got cancer, he STILL put others first. And he helped people believe in God. He was truly good at heart.
He got rhabdomyosarcoma when we were in kindergarten. At first it was just in his nose… then he relapsed and it spread everywhere. When he got really sick, my parents took me out of school so I could spend more time with him.
Sam was at St. Louis Children’s Hospital which was near my fabulous Aunt Judi’s house. While my mom and dad and nana stayed with Sam, I stayed with Aunt Judi – a lot. (I still remember she would read “Amelia Bedeilia” books before I went to bed.) Every day, I went back and forth to the hospital, when my friends were playing at recess and finishing kindergarten. I didn’t get to graduate kindergarten – cancer took that from both Sam and me. We were in the hospital – but we were together and that’s all that mattered.
Like I said, I was in and out of the hospital all the time. Sam had all of his comfortable blankets and stuffed animals with him, to keep him comfortable and that was great! But I had to pack my things in and out all of the time. That’s why I started, Ava’s Avengers.
Ava’s Avengers is really important to me, because I feel like cancer is a family fight. Siblings may not be the ones who have cancer but they still need a lot of support too. It was hard for me to be away from Sam and my mom, and it’s hard for them too. I want to support the siblings, because they fight too.
I started sibling packs a couple years ago. They contain all of the things that really helped me in the hospital. Cute, but small and portable, stuffed animals. These helped me have a stuffed animal of my own when I would visit Sam in the hospital. I also really liked journaling. I always had a notebook with me to doodle or write in when Sam was too tired or sick to talk or play. So, all of my sibling packs have a journal in them! Hopefully this helps others pass the time and have an outlet for their feelings, like it did for me.
My favorite part of the packs are the crazy sock! These socks are for the days that just feel a little crazy. My first crazy socks were given to me by my Nanny. Her letter to me said to “wear these crazy socks when everything just got a little too crazy.” As Sam’s fight went on, I found myself wearing those crazy socks all the time.
The bags I choose for Sibling Packs are what I call, sling bags. They are easy to travel with and pretty cute too! 😊
I didn’t get to keep my brother but I want All the Siblings to get to keep theirs.
When we started the Super Sam Foundation, I decided I was going to be the voice for Sam. Now, I go to Washington D.C. every year to talk with our legislators and use my voice; for Sam, for All the Kids and for All the Siblings.
I use my voice, because I wanted to keep Sam and I think we have to speak-up if we want to see this get better for other families, so that’s what I try to do, in the best way I know how. I started Ava’s Avengers, because sisters should get to keep their brothers.