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From the picture of health to intense treatment

From the outside, Ava was the picture of health – a spirited 7-year-old, embracing the joys of childhood. What was initially dismissed as simple growing pains in her legs escalated rapidly, leading to a diagnosis that plunged the family into the complex world of childhood cancer treatment.

Just a month shy of her eighth birthday, Ava was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma. She was given just a 50 percent chance of survival.

In a concentrated effort to defeat her cancer, Ava underwent an intensive treatment regimen, including multiple rounds of chemotherapy and surgeries. Her journey took a heart-wrenching turn when her chance of survival post-surgery dropped to less than 30 percent.

Overwhelmed and heartbroken, Tiffiany, Ava’s mum shares, “We were supposed to have six rounds of induction chemo, but stopped at five because it wasn’t doing anything.”

After all other treatment options had been exhausted, Ava’s oncologist organised for her to take part in a trial at Queensland Children’s Hospital that combined immunotherapy and chemotherapy – making her one of the first children with high-risk neuroblastoma at the Queensland Children’s Hospital to undergo the treatment.

No one could have predicted Ava’s reaction to this treatment.

After six challenging rounds of immunotherapy and chemotherapy and continuous scans, we saw a miraculous change – by the third treatment, the cancer that was riddled in the hard parts of her bones had all gone.

– Tiffiany, Ava’s mum
Beating the odds

In Australia, approximately 750 children aged 0 – 14 years are diagnosed with cancer each year. Nearly three of those children and adolescents are lost to cancer each week.

Queensland Children’s Hospital cares for more than 1,900 Queensland children and young people with cancer each year.

In a world where childhood cancer exists, our mission is clear.

We are committed to harnessing the full potential of innovative treatments like immunotherapy, ensuring that every child can look forward to a life free from the impacts of cancer.

For the past few years, Children’s Hospital Foundation has been proudly funding the Ian Frazer Centre for Children’s Immunotherapy Research, bringing together the brightest minds in research and clinical practice.

With your help, we are not only making strides in paediatric cancer research – we are rewriting the story of survival for kids like Ava.


A world-first children’s cancer vaccine

The team at the Ian Frazer Centre for Children’s Immunotherapy Research are working to develop novel cancer vaccines which are tailored to an individual child’s tumour’s specific genetic profile and their immune system status.

If successful, it promises to be the first of its kind for paediatric cancer treatment – offering new hope for families like Ava’s.

Through the development of personalised vaccines, researchers are not only fighting cancer but defining the future of paediatric care, ensuring that children will have the chance to lead long and healthy lives.

Ava’s story, from the shock diagnosis to the triumphs of treatment, highlights the critical role of continued support and funding for cancer research.

Every donation, big or small, contributes to life saving advancements and the possibility of a cancer-free future for children.