After my 18-month daughter, Ava, was nearly killed by a drunk driver in 2009, a good friend of mine started a CaringBridge site for us to keep everyone updated. He had used CaringBridge during his own cancer journey, and knowing how helpful it was, he wrote posts about Ava for two months, until I could take over.
When the accident first happened, we had so many phone calls … so many people trying to figure out what was going on. Our baby was in a coma, and we were an emotional mess. My husband and I needed to be at Ava’s bedside, and with our other two kids.
But because of CaringBridge, everyone could stay up-to-date: all the people in San Antonio, TX, where we lived; my family in Ohio; our friends and family across the country.
Over the 2 ½ weeks Ava was in a coma, we would read CaringBridge Journal comments to her. We didn’t know if she was able to hear us or understand, but we hoped she could take in all the prayers and positive thoughts. It amazed me to see the prayers coming in from all over the world … from people we didn’t even know. It was so therapeutic for me to have that support.
As Ava’s health continued to stabilize, writing on CaringBridge became my therapy. It was a way for me to get through some really hard days, as my baby re-learned how to walk, talk, even swallow.
Today, my little girl is about to start sixth grade. She will turn 12 on Sept. 28; it is hard to believe she was only 18 months old when her life changed forever. Ava has had many developmental delays because of the accident, and a seizure disorder from a traumatic brain injury. But she embraces every day with a positive attitude.
Ava’s story is such a source of inspiration that we set up a nonprofit to support pediatric head-trauma patients at University Hospital in San Antonio, where she was treated. Since 2010, Ava’s Wish has provided hundreds of families with blankets and toiletries. I also help set up CaringBridge sites for parents to share health updates and stay connected.
It has become a tradition for me to post a CaringBridge update at the start of every school year, and also to mark Ava’s birthday. It is the perfect way to let everyone know how she is doing, and to say thank you for all the support over so many years.
As I mark my 10th year of writing on CaringBridge, I want to also thank YOU for supporting CaringBridge. May it always be available for everyone who needs it!
Read more of Ava’s story
Traci said that writing on CaringBridge was like therapy for her in the early days after Ava’s accident. Ten years later, Traci posts at the start of every new school year, to thank family and friends for their continued support. Ava’s story is part of the How We Heal series at CaringBridge.org/healing.