In the face of a devastating diagnosis, Lakesha's unwavering love for her daughter Ava and the unparalleled care offered by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital became beacons of hope.

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It all started when Lakesha noticed a swelling on one side of Ava's neck. Concerned, she sought out medical attention, but initial tests and antibiotics failed to provide answers or alleviate Lakesha's growing worries. Ava's neck continued to enlarge and in a heart-wrenching turn of events, it was confirmed that Ava had cancer, with doctors suspecting lymphoma.

With little time to spare, Ava and Lakesha urgently sought treatment, only to face an additional obstacle - Ava had contracted COVID-19. Isolated from each other for weeks, Lakesha could only spend one hour a day with her daughter due to strict hospital policies. Yet, despite the challenges, Lakesha ensured that Ava had access to entertainment, providing her with a tablet, a phone, and coloring books to keep her spirits up during the isolated hours.

However, an unexpected turn of events led to a reversal in Ava's diagnosis. Instead of lymphoma, she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that could not be treated in the Bahamas. Devastated and filled with questions, Lakesha searched for a solution, which ultimately came in the form of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

The thought of the medical expertise and compassionate care offered by St. Jude kindled hope in Lakesha's heart. Finally, relief washed over her when she received the call confirming that Ava would be treated at the renowned hospital. Within days, Ava and Lakesha boarded a plane to Memphis, where they were greeted by caring nurses awaiting their arrival.

Tri Delta Place, the housing provided by St. Jude, became their temporary home. The hospital wasted no time conducting tests and confirming Ava's neuroblastoma diagnosis. The scans painted a concerning picture - evidence of cancerous masses extending from Ava's neck to her thigh bone and spine.

The journey to recovery began with the first round of chemotherapy. Over time, Ava's resilience and strength became increasingly evident. Lakesha's observations of Ava's neck returning to normal and subsequent scans revealing no evidence of disease after five rounds of chemotherapy brought a glimmer of hope.

In December 2022, just two months after Ava's seventh birthday, came the best Christmas gift of all - confirmation that there was no evidence of disease. Ava underwent a stem cell transplant and radiation therapy. The care and attention provided by the doctors, nurses, and technicians at St. Jude created a sense of comfort and reassurance for Lakesha, reminding her that they were not alone in this fight.

St. Jude became more than just a hospital; it became a second family for Lakesha and Ava. The lasting impact of the care they received will forever be etched in their hearts, alongside gratitude for the tremendous support they experienced during the most challenging moments of their lives.

Today, Ava is eight years old. Lakesha's journey as a mother, navigating the hardships and fears of her daughter's illness, has been one intertwined with hope and the unwavering support of those at St. Jude.

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