Parents of 4-year-old battling stage-4 cancer hope to raise awareness for a cure

Family of local girl fighting cancer raising awareness for research

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The parents of a little girl battling stage-4 cancer are hoping that shining a spotlight on the devastating disease can help raise money for research that leads to a cure.

Ava Grace Gunn was diagnosed with stage-4 Neuroblastoma, a cancer commonly found in the adrenal glands, in March 2017. The Waynesville four-year-old has had multiple surgeries, stem cell transplants, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation, according to her parents.

“It gives you a different view into your child and how they have so much fight in them and so much courage, and they don’t even know they have it," Amanda Gunn, Ava Grace’s mother, said.

Despite what she has been through, Ave Grace still smiles and enjoys life.

“She’s very sassy. She has quite the personality. She loves to be outside," Amanda said.

After a year-and-a-half of treatment, Amanda says they got the news that they had been hoping for, that Ava Grace’s cancer was gone. And for a while, it stayed that way.

However, the family’s relief disappeared a few weeks ago when a scan showed that the disease had returned.

Amanda said support from loved ones and even from strangers online has helped carry them through this tough time.

“It’s sad. It’s hard to see the bad days, but just like that one comment, ‘I’m thinking of you,’ like, ‘You can do this,’ it helps," Amanda said.

Ava Grace is facing around another year of hospital stays as she is now part of a clinical trial.

“I look at her and see everything she has been through, and it makes me think I really don’t have it that bad," Amanda said.

Amanda remembers she was shocked to learn that according to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, just four percent of federal funding goes to childhood cancer research.

“It’s actually appalling that that’s all they get, because really when you think about it, our kids are our future," Amanda said. "I just feel like as a country, we could probably do better.”

It’s a statistic that has prompted Amanda to push for change and for a cure by encouraging people to donate money to the cause.

She hopes it will help not only Ava Grace, but countless other children like her who are in the fight of their lives.

Ava Grace is currently at Dayton Children’s Hospital, but travels to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for treatments as well.

There is a Facebook page called “Team Sassy Pants” for anyone who would like to follow Ava Grace’s journey. There, you can also learn about how to help the family.

Fundraisers are in the works.

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