Helping Ava Grace

by Brittany Harris on February 8, 2011 at 8:01 am

A local family is seeking community support to help finance a medical procedure that could finally help their daughter gain mobility in her legs.

Two-year-old Ava McCulloch has Spina Bifida which means her backbone and spinal canal did not close before birth.

"The doctors told us when we left Zanesville that not to look it up because it would devastate you and make you scared all the time," said Ava’s father Travis when doctors first diagnosed Ava.

After five surgeries and several medical complications, Travis and his wife Jessica are not giving up on helping to better Ava’s life. She was recently approved for a stem-cell treatment at Xcell Center at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Germany.

"We are really just hoping that she gain some feeling in her legs and bladder," said Jessica McColluch.

The family is currently struggling to come up with money to pay for the procedure, which they estimate to be around $30,000 to cover all the expenses. They are hoping the community will offer financial support.

"For any family that has a child with a medical disorder, I think it’s worth trying, if you love your child you are going to try to do the most that you can for them," said Ava’s mom.

Jessica says while stem-cell treatment is controversial in the U.S., she believes it is the best option for her daughter and says embryos are not used for this specific kind. In addition to receiving this surgery, Ava has been doing physical therapy to help strengthen her muscles.

"Everyday she has more muscle regeneration more nerve tissue that can regenerate and the more you work it, the more can you can see out of it," said Ava’s Nurse Tonya Theisen.

Ava alternates between the use of a walker and a wheelchair, both custom designed to fit her needs.

"She’s a happy girl, she doesn’t say why this why that, I don’t think she’s old enough yet, but I do think when she gets a little older I don’t necessarily think shes going to feel sorry for herself, I think she will actually fight to get what she wants," said Jessica.

Monetary donations can be made at any century national bank under the Ava Grace McCulloch fund.

A variety of events will also be held around the community to help raise money for Ava.

  • Luncheon – Healing Ava Grace Fund February 19th 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and then the R.O.L Night of Hope concert will be held at the River of Life Church in Zanesville.
  • Silent Auction at River of Life Church in Zanesville on March 5th from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.