Activate 4 Avery!
Thank you so much for joining here in support of Avery!! My name is Nicole Burcham and I am Avery's aunt.
In March of this year Avery was diagnosed with bilateral Stage 5 Wilms Tumor, a type of childhood kidney cancer. You can learn more about Wilms Tumor here: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/wilms-tumor.html. His heartbreaking diagnoses came after months of fevers and feeling ill. It would be the start of a journey towards a cure that would forever change Avery, his mom (Shannon), his Dad (Silas) and his 5 year old brother (Foster), as well as all of his loved ones. One thing we all knew for sure - we were ready to fight alongside our little guy every step of the way!
Avery's course of treatment began with 12 weeks of chemotherapy in an effort to shrink the tumors and make for a more favorable outcome once surgery would be performed. On July 6, Avery underwent an 8 hour surgery that would result in the surgeons removing his entire right kidney and several lesions on his left kidney. Through pathology tests performed, they were able to then determine his left kidney was considered a Stage 1 with favorable histology and his right kidney would be a Stage 3 with unfavorable histology. Cancer was also found in 2 of 7 lymph nodes that were removed. Based upon this information, Avery was then given an updated treatment plan of 14 days daily radiation and 30 weeks intensive chemotherapy to ensure all cancer would be killed and never return. As of August 1, Avery is in his second week of this updated treatment plan.
Throughout this entire diagnoses Avery has been sweet, happy and upbeat - always asking for his favorite cereals, chips and dinosaurs! It is nothing short of amazing to see his reslient spirit that most certainly has given strength to his family and loved ones. When first diagnosed, Shannon and Silas were able to both take FMLA. They then had to make a decision with regards to care of Avery and financial/medical benefits for the family. At the current time, Shannon will return to work in the fall as a teacher and Silas has quit his job to become full time stay at home Dad and caretaker to Avery who will spend his next 7 months in and out of the hospital.
We have set up a gofundme to help offset the income lost through Silas now staying home with Avery and to include costs associated with trips to and from the hospital about 1 hour away from home. I want to note that Shannon and Silas have applied for grants to cover a portion of medical costs and dependent on the results of this our goal amount may be adjusted.
I've had the opportunity to spend several weeks this summer with Avery & family and was able to see first hand their "new normal." I am truly in awe of how they all deal with this new path to cure our fighter Avery of this horrible kidney Cancer. I am hopeful that this will help ease the stress and burden of financial setbacks and allow them to focus fully on Avery. If any funds raised end up funds that the family does not need, they intend to pay it forward to another family or foundation in financial need.
You can find more udpates on his specific story at www.caringbridge.org/visit/averysmithies
Thank you so much for all of the continued love and support our entire family has received!!
About 3 weeks back Avery underwent emergency surgery to operate on a tumor found compressing his spinal cord. Prior to surgery he was unable to walk, and as of yesterday our courageous kiddo was doing laps around the kitchen both with and without a walker. simply amazing. He participates in physical therapy at UNC weekly to help continue to add strength.
Avery has also began his 5 day inpatient chemo cycles. He has completed the first cycle, which then requires several weeks of recovery and will complete a second cycle starting Monday, March 12.
This Thursday, he also begins 14 days of targeted radiation to his spine. Although surgery was successful, about 25% of the tumor had to remain.
He continues to inspire and amaze everyone with his smiles, his happy attitude, his energy and his silliness. These inpatient treatments are extremely hard on Avery's body and I know the support the family receives has been so helpful as they continue the fight.
Thank you so much!!!!
Wow what a week! Foster went in for his kindergarten assessments, I started my 7th year of teaching and Avery went to the hospital three times. Once to get platelets since the chemo dropped his levels to critical, once to get blood because his hemoglobin was down to 5.9 and yesterday he went in for his 1st MRI and CT scan to see if all the chemo and radiation did what they were supposed to do. We will know the results next but but even tho he went through all this, he is still smiling and playing with his dinosaurs!
I am so grateful for my husband, who stays home and takes care of Avery
along with everyone else that is supporting us as he continues to fight. Yesterday marked the 1st day of childhood cancer awareness month and I can say first hand these kids are AMAZING! Thanks again for all the prayers and support I know that the MRI results will show only bring positive news!