Ava was just six-months-old when her mum, Jenny, heard her screaming, and ran to find her struggling to breathe, her eyes rolling into the back of her head and her lips turning blue.

At the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, doctors found that her lung had collapsed due to a collection of fluid in her lungs and she was immediately transferred to the Intensive Care Unit and placed on a ventilator.

Ava was then sent for scans which revealed a five and a half centimetre cancerous (neuroblastoma) tumour in her chest and abdomen – the cause of pressure and build-up of fluid on her lungs. The cancer had also spread to her bones.

She immediately commenced a course of chemotherapy treatment and spent the next 15 days on the ventilator until she could breathe again on her own. Over the next 12 months, she endured ten rounds of chemotherapy and three operations to try and rid her of the tumours – one of which was entwined around her spine.

A highly risky operation to perform due to the potential of damaging nerves, doctors were relieved to discover after further investigation that the tumour had matured and become non-cancerous. Ava was then able to stop her intensive treatment.

These days outgoing and bubbly six-year-old Ava is back home with her family but will need to continue to visit the Hospital annually. The focus of these check-ups will be around long-term development goals and whether the treatments she underwent have caused any side effects as she grows.

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