Ava’s Story

Ava was a fearless 4-1/2 year old with an adventurous spirit. As soon as she could, she wanted to ride horses – she was never afraid of them and would walk right up to them in the pasture. She loved all the animals at the farm and even hugged Larry the llama. She loved swimming with the dolphins and kissing them – spreading her love to all of God’s creatures. She would jump right off the boat into the lake or into the deep end of the pool without fear, possessing a confidence that is rare in children of her age. She loved dancing and dressing up but also playing soccer and riding her bike, any activity she did, she did with gusto, once again providing an example of how to enjoy life.

Ava was only two weeks away from starting pre-kindergarten when she was diagnosed with stage four cancer. She had developed a large bump on her head that persisted for nearly two weeks, and a precautionary CT scan showed that she had several bleeds on her brain. From there on out, each day brought on more devastating news as her parents Casey and Christina Sentell learned that she had tumors in her heart, liver, kidneys, spleen and adrenal gland. Within three days of her first scan, she began her first round of chemo, and her family was suddenly tossed into the world of childhood cancer. All of the pathology tests were completed and were inconclusive, so they labeled her cancer as Undifferentiated Sarcoma.

Ava always told us how much she loves everybody, “even people I don’t know,” in her words! She had amazing strength during her battle and one of her favorite activities was to ride her bike around the hospital and go to the art room. Her smiles and laugh were contagious, even when she was spending her days in the hospital. Her strength and courageous spirit have allowed us to continue this fight against childhood cancer.