Avett was just 7 years old when he began struggling to breathe. Then his vision started to go black.
He was taken to Sanford Aberdeen, where doctors found a mass in Avett’s chest. He urgently needed to be seen by the specialists at Sanford Children’s Hospital.
Avett was flown to the Castle of Care in Sioux Falls, where he was diagnosed with a rare type of T-cell lymphoma. The team also discovered fluid building in both of his lungs and around his heart. Drains were placed to relieve the pressure and Avett immediately began three weeks of aggressive, inpatient cancer treatment.
That first long stay was just the first of many stays, surgeries, chemotherapy infusions and even three rescue flights from Aberdeen during a three-year battle.
But through it all, Avett and his family were touched by the warmth and kindness of the staff. Avett’s favorite memories are time spent joking around and playing video games with Child Life Specialists and even a special visit from the Harlem Globetrotters.
“Cancer is very scary,” said Avett’s mom, Angela. “It’s important kids have a place they can feel safe and is accommodating to the whole family. It means a lot to be able to have that support system. We think the world of all staff at the Castle.”
The journey also gave the family a new appreciation for having Sanford Children’s so close to their Aberdeen home.
“We are so grateful to get great care and be this close to home,” Angela said. “We were able to go through this as a family and my husband and I were able to continue to work.”
Today, Avett is 12 years old and in remission. He just started 6th grade. Looking ahead, Angela simply wishes Avett’s future is full of great health and happiness.
Your generosity makes the difference
Just last year, more than 400 kids from across the Aberdeen area relied on the Castle of Care for everything from treating rare cancers to healing broken bones. As a nonprofit hospital, we relied on community generosity to meet their unique needs. Gifts to Sanford Children’s help fund:
- Child Life Specialists and supplies to engage, distract and help kids cope with treatment and hospital stays
- On-site school tutors who work with local schools to keep kids on track
- Financial assistance to help families with meals, mileage, lodging and other costs not covered by insurance
- Lifesaving equipment like pediatric CT scanners and ultrasound machines
- Playrooms filled with toys, games, books and cozy furniture
- And so much more!
“This can happen to anyone and any family,” Angela said. “The support helps in so many ways. Thank you!”
You can tune in to hear more stories from kids like Avett at our Power of Hope Radiothon, November 9-10.
Live on your favorite local Aberdeen radio stations