YUKON, Okla. – A 10-year old girl jumping on her bike on a warm fall evening may be a typical scene in a neighborhood, but Ava Wood has waited ten months to ride the bike she got last Christmas.
“Yesterday, she asked her doctor and she said ‘can I ride my bike,’ and they said ‘you could as long as you wear your helmet,'” mom Jennifer Wood recalled.
Two days after Christmas 2018, Ava was diagnosed with a condition called aplastic anemia.
The first signs showed up after a gymnastics tournament.
“She had a bruise on her arm and it was a good portion of that arm,” Jennifer told News 4.
That bruise was followed by a rash all over her body, and her gums would not stop bleeding.
“The doctor said ‘we don’t see any signs of leukemia,’ and so my husband and I breathed a sigh of relief for a moment, and then she held her hand up and said, ‘but wait a minute.'”
Dr. David Crawford from Jimmy Everest Cancer Center says aplastic anemia is when the bone marrow fails.
“She showed up with lousy blood counts and bone marrow [test] was performed that showed she had almost no remaining marrow function,” Dr. David Crawford said.
Jennifer said, “She’s at 80 blood donations so far.”
Other people’s blood kept Ava alive, but her body couldn’t fight infections.
“She had a fungal infection in her mouth, it’s a fungus we’re around every day but without an immune system, it got very invasive and started eating away at her tissue,” Jennifer recalled.
There were other crises, too until Ava got a stem-cell transplant from a donor in Europe.
“We call her our little miracle,” Jennifer said.
Slowly but surely, Ava’s immune system rebooted.
As Ava’s bone marrow rebuilds, her medical team cheers her on.
Whether it’s handling her port or administering her own medication, Ava likes to be a part of her treatment.
With her pets by her side, she is glad to “slide” back into her old routines and hobbies.
Kids with Courage is sponsored by Friends of Jimmy Everest Center. If you would like to donate head to JECFriends.org