Avie’s Story: A Journey of Advocacy, Resilience, and Love
Life can bring many unexpected trials and tribulations. For some of us, there comes a point when our roles as parents, siblings, or other family members extend beyond ordinary love and care. It’s a moment when we must take a stand and become fierce advocates for the well-being of those we hold dear.
We learned this firsthand in December 2016 when our daughter Avalynn (Avie) was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood leukemia. Of the many lessons we learned during her battle with cancer, one stands out from the rest: don’t hesitate to advocate for those you love.
Avie’s Unyielding Spirit and the Inspiration Behind the Chronicles of Avie Bravelee
Just 12 days before Christmas in 2012, we took Avie to the hospital. A normally bright and spunky four-year-old, Avie hadn’t been feeling well for the past week; she had been suffering from persistent pain, facial swelling, mild fevers, a sore throat, and fatigue.
When her fever spiked, and her throat swelled up, we knew something was seriously wrong; once the doctors at the hospital saw the results of the blood test, we were quickly transported to UC Davis. After an arduous wait, we received the news that would change all of our lives forever: Avie had Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a rare form of childhood cancer.
Over the next three years, Avie faced her illness with joy, hope, and determination. Despite the diagnosis, she remained a beautiful, feisty, and courageous soul who could light up the room with her presence. During this time, we had to learn how to navigate the medical system and discovered the hard truth that if you don’t advocate for your loved ones, no one else will.
Despite every effort, Avie lost her battle with leukemia in October 2019 at the age of seven. Her passing wasn’t just mourned by our family and friends but also by the countless people that her life had touched from around the world.
Avie’s strength, courage, and faith were an inspiration to everyone she met, and it was this remarkable spirit that inspired me to create The Courageous Chronicles of Avie Bravelee book series. I wanted to share her story with a wider audience, not only to inspire hope for other families facing serious health issues but also to honor the memory of Avie. Her resilience and positivity in the face of adversity left an indelible mark on all who knew her.
Avie’s journey in the book, as in life, serves as a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there’s light to be found. Rovias, the lion Avie meets in the first book, The Powerful Necklace, is a symbol of the unwavering courage that faith can bestow in times of crisis.
The Selfless Act of Supporting Your Family
Supporting your family during challenging times is a selfless act that often requires profound self-reflection and an acute awareness of the struggles and needs of your loved ones. It means not only being there physically but also emotionally and mentally.
Being an advocate for your family means not shying away from challenging situations but rather standing up and speaking out in their best interests. It often involves standing up and speaking out in the face of uncertainty and adversity.
You may need to research treatments, consult with medical experts, decipher medical records, negotiate with insurance providers, and explore every avenue to ensure they receive the most effective therapies available—while at the same time, being a pillar of strength for your loved one and providing a safe space for them to talk and express their emotions.
It’s an undeniably challenging role, but it can make all the difference in the world for your loved one. Your advocacy can lead to more effective treatments, stronger support systems, an improved quality of life—and better outcomes overall.
Do You Have an Avie in Your Life?
If you have an Avie in your life, whether a child battling an illness or a family member facing serious health challenges, know that you’re not alone.
We’ve compiled a list of resources that helped us during Avie’s battle with cancer. You’ll find resources for financial, educational, and emotional support, temporary housing, and even fun and recreational programs—because we all need moments of joy on this journey.
Avalynn’s Hope Foundation was founded in memory of Avie with the mission of providing ongoing support for families facing health crises. We understand the power of unity and advocacy in the most challenging of times and are here to offer guidance and a sense of community. Whether you need assistance or just someone to share your story with, please feel free to reach out to us.
Always remember: your advocacy can move mountains. Your family is worth every effort, every ounce of courage, and every moment of love you invest.