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Date Published: November 3, 2012

The house was spilling over with miniature humans as I pulled up. Two bubbly boys ran out followed by a beautiful girl walking daintily in a flowery dress. The dad saw me walking out of my car with a princess gift bag and gave me a warm welcoming smile. “I found this bag… Apparently, it’s for Ava”, I said trying to sound playfully mysterious. About to drive off with his children, he explained she was inside with their mom.

Nickelle greeted me with a kind and generous grin and I followed her through the wonderland living room full of toys to her sweet three-year-old angel. My eyes landed on her smooth and milky white head as she pointed at the tiger game on the iPad. Her intense blue eyes looked up at me to make sure I saw what she was excited about. Of course this was Ava! Not the girl who just left with the rich curls hanging over her shoulders…

Her body moved energetically inside the pink dress and her fingers danced knowingly across the screen. I followed Nickelle to the sitting area and Ava tagged behind us with her eyes glued to the bag. Sneaky me. She landed beside me and began by pulling out the tissue paper which floated down gracefully around us. Then she honered each surprise. A kitty bag! Her eyes popped open and her mom told me cats were her favorite. When she saw the metal triangle, she knew exactly what to do with it and her little hands rhythmically beat against it. Pushing it into her pocket didn’t work, so she crammed it into the meowing bag with the glow sticks and colored clips. The sunglasses fit perfectly on her bright happy face. She taunted me with a flashlight, beaming my face and I shrieked that I couldn’t see. Then I put on her sunglasses and we laughed that I was untouchable.

As she crawled under the TV cabinet with her new minnie mouse socks, she asked us to find her. Then, Nickelle started to tell me their story. It would be the last family day for a month. A stem cell transplant would begin the next day for the little one, the youngest of the four children. During Easter this year, she got diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer.

Nickelle told me about the three messages she received from God during this unfolding experience: Have faith. Take care of your children. Be humble! They have carried her through these months. I perceived infinite gratitude for the support they are receiving from everyone. Light and hope! Love and gratitude. That’s what they need. That IS what they give and so they receive those blessings.

Since this ordeal started, Nickelle has been sharing on CaringBridge. A website where she heroically journals how life unfolds on a daily basis for them.

While we were immersed in our conversation, we remained attentive to Ava. It couldn’t have been any other way. Her determination to eat a cupcake was adorably fierce. Her mom’s resolution to discipline her daughter and not give in was just as admirable. We distracted her with games, the iPad, and with a bottle of water to no avail. Her sense of happiness and accomplishment as crumbs fell off her face were laudable.

Leaving their home I walked away with a reinforced belief in our capacity to generate miracles. This angel has so much determination and vitality that her heart and mind are undoubtedly capable of divine results. She’s already inspired so many people to give thanks, to come together and allow hope to pulse through our veins!! She’s going through this to teach us something… This is an invitation to embrace ALL of life and to have the courage to learn the lesson.

Let’s send her our Love and support!


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