“Reason this person is a Gold Ribbon Hero: Avery “brAvery” Heino was diagnosed in June 2014 with a rare form of brain cancer – Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (AT/RT) – just a week before her 2nd birthday. During her 10 months of treatment, she had 13 surgeries (8 of which were brain surgeries and included a tracheostomy and g-tube), over 20 rounds of high dose intense chemo therapy, a stem cell transplant and countless other procedures, infusions, etc. We basically lived inpatient in the hospital throughout those entire 10 months. Avery passed away on April 7, 2015 from complications relating to her treatment and stem cell transplant. The harsh chemo drugs left her trying to fight off many infections and caused multiple complications that caused her lungs to fail.
Avery completed our family in a way I didn’t even realize was missing. When I was pregnant with her, I worried endlessly that it wouldn’t be the same or that I wouldn’t love her like I loved Ella (my older daughter). And then she was born – I felt an immediate sense of completion and wholeness that I didn’t even realize I was missing. She was sweet and silly and crazy and snuggly. She smiled through every treatment and every procedure. I’ve never met anyone who smiles after puking! She made friends with everyone she met, even if she never said a word. She loved her sister fiercely, thought her daddy was the best and funniest guy around and her favorite place to be was in my arms. Not having her with us on Earth anymore has left an incredible hole in our life and our hearts. I’m still not sure how we’re supposed to live our whole lives without her. She is so very missed. A photo essay series was done on Avery during her last chemo treatment to help spread awareness for pediatric cancer – http://
We are dedicating Avery’s memory and life to helping advocate and fight on behalf of all the children affected by childhood cancers. No family should go through what mine did, no parents should be faced with the decisions my husband and I had to make, no one should have to bury their baby.” – Dana H.