On May 14, 2020, Avery was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). Our world forever changed after that day. Avery was a healthy, active, intelligent little girl who loved to be with her older sister, Madison, and younger sister, Riley. She was a loving and thoughtful girl with an infectious personality and smile. She loved dancing, singing, playing board games, solving puzzles, opening LOL Surprise toys, and doing gymnastics. She loved to eat pizza, chicken nuggets, sushi, gummy bears, and blueberries. And she loved to watch Garfield, Barbie, Polly Pocket, Ryan’s Toy Review, and MOANA!!!
The week prior to Avery’s diagnosis, Avery suddenly began complaining of a headache, a stomachache, and she started slightly tilting her head to the side and would gaze her eyes slightly to the left at times. At first, we wondered if the few headaches and stomachaches were just common colds, but when she started gazing her eyes and tilting her head, we thought maybe it was COVID related (since this was the beginning of COVID-19).
Her pediatrician, a family friend, however, told us to rush her to the hospital to get an MRI. Less than 24 hours and one MRI later, we found ourselves surrounded by doctors and nurses waiting to hear the diagnosis. It was in the midst of that chaos that we were told our daughter had a tumor in her brainstem. While we prayed she had a more treatable tumor, a biopsy ultimately confirmed that Avery had DIPG: an extremely rare cancerous pediatric brain tumor that primarily occurs between the ages of 5 and 7, has no known effective treatments or cure, and has a near 0% long-term survival rate. Less than two days before her diagnosis, Avery was jumping on the trampoline and running outside with her sisters. It was surreal that this was happening.
Avery underwent 30 rounds of radiation, participated in an oral chemotherapy clinical trial, and went through countless MRIs, doctor visits, and pokes. On October 14, 2020, Avery was experiencing some new symptoms that concerned her family, so they took her to the ER at Mott Children’s Hospital. She remained at the hospital for four months primarily due to respiratory issues before gaining her angel wings on February 12, 2021.
Avery fought a brave and heroic nine-month-long battle. Avery never complained and always looked for new ways that she could do what she loved. When she was unable to use her dominant right hand, she would say, “It’s okay, I can learn to write with my left.” She took things in stride and always looked for the positive in what she could do (and not what she could not).
Avery was loved by many and always had the ability to quickly make friends (or borrow her older sister Maddie’s friends) whether at home, school, church, or on vacation! She was always laughing and smiling, which left others no choice but to be happy when around her. Avery was best friends with both of her sisters, but she looked up to Madison and always looked out for Riley (who looked up to Avery).
There was never a puzzle, LOL Surprise, or episode of Ryan’s Toy Review that didn’t immediately capture Avery’s attention, and you could see her excitement grow simply by looking at her eyes as they got bigger and bigger! She would often beat others if they dared to race her in solving puzzles. The only thing that could top this level of pure jubilation was when Avery began to dance, moving freely to the music in a way that only she could do! Her sisters would watch and try to follow, but her focused excitement was not easily duplicated!!!
Avery will be forever remembered and missed. We love you, baby!
Written by Avery’s mom, Candice Moore