Seattle Children's HospitalChildren’s Specialty Center of Nevada
“Avery Margaret Driscoll passed away at 7:17 am this morning. She was peaceful and calm.” These words were posted on the Fabulous Team Avery Facebook group earlier today.
And it was how we learned we had lost this fabulous thirteen year old to childhood cancer.
Even though we knew Avery was in hospice and the update was not a shock, the words felt like a sucker punch to the gut. No amount of preparation can temper the reality that childhood cancer claimed the life of a fabulous kid like Avery.
We first met Avery in September 2012, a little more than a year after she was diagnosed with Pilocytic astrocytoma, a brain tumor. At that time, she said, “Some people get cancer and others don’t. This is just what I have to deal with.” This can do attitude carried Avery and her family through many rough months of treatment.
We saw Avery live out this attitude by the way she and her family relentlessly supported the need for increased childhood cancer research funding. She was always eager to help shave heads at St. Baldrick’s events and was a natural when it came to media interviews. During her tenure as a 2013 St. Baldrick’s Ambassador, Avery starred in her own video, highlighting her budding piano skills, artistic talent and her intense dislike of needles! She participated in the St. Baldrick’s SU2C PSA and was joined by her brother and sisters in our DWYW video. Avery enthusiastically provided artwork or quotes or photos every time we asked.
Late last year, her tumor came back with a vengeance. It was aggressive and had grown back to almost its original size. Avery sought the best medical care possible, endured more surgery, and enrolled in a clinical trial. But it wasn’t enough. No family should have to face the reality that there are no other options.
But Avery was so much more than a kid with a brain tumor. She was spunky, playful, and possessed a quick wit. Avery was warm and loving; wanting to bring joy to others. One of her favorite things to do was to serenade her siblings with her beautiful voice. She dreamed of being an oncology child life specialist when she grew up so she could “work with kids with cancer, but I definitely don’t want to give them shots.” Avery possessed a deep faith and a love for temples, choosing to spend her last trip on a quest to visit as many Mormon temples as possible. In recent photos, Avery’s bright smile is almost always accompanied by a thumbs up or a peace sign. There was no doubt…she was fabulous.