Leading the Way

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George Stinnett

AvaCoverThree-year-old Ava Ganeshan’s parents thought her malaise was due to strep throat, but her primary care physician in Williamsburg told her parents, Ram Ganeshan and Tonya Boone, that he suspected there was something more serious. He sent them to CHKD’s emergency center, where they learned their daughter had acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

It was a terrifying turn of events. “At first I didn’t want to believe it was possible,” Tonya recalls. “We were frightened. I kept wanting it to be something else.”

They learned much more about their child’s disease while she was treated at CHKD’s cancer center over the next months. Most importantly, they learned Ava’s chances for a cure were excellent. Ava’s parents discovered that they could enroll Ava in a clinical research trial at CHKD in conjunction with the national Children’s Oncology Group, further guaranteeing Ava would have access to the best care for leukemia without leaving Hampton Roads.

Ava’s image, with bright smile and scant hair, adorned the cover of Kidstuff’s special cancer issue that summer.

Today, the soon-to-be second grader at Williamsburg Montessori School has finished her treatments and is a healthy 7-year-old. Her parents say they’re grateful they decided to include Ava in the research study. “It was a really good decision for Ava,” Tonya says. Their healthy daughter is testament to that decision.

This story was featured in the third quarter 2008 issue of KidStuff, a publication of Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters.

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