Ava's story

Who knew babies could get cancer?

- Felicity, Ava’s mum

Ava was just a baby when she developed worrying symptoms and was taken to hospital. Totally unexpected and devastating news was to follow.

Ava Burnett held in hospital


At eight weeks of age, Ava's stomach seemed bloated. Everyone told her mum, Felicity, not to worry; it was probably just a reaction to formula. But a couple of weeks later, Ava started vomiting. At Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth, an ultrasound showed a 10cm-long mass squashing Ava's bowel and stomach.

I knew she was sick but I never, in my wildest nightmares, thought it could be cancer.

- Felicity, Ava's mum

Ava Burnett receiving treatment


Felicity thought they'd go in, remove the mass, and everything would be fine. It wasn't until they started moving Ava to the oncology ward that she realised the 'mass' was cancer.

The air sucked out of my lungs and my heart dropped like a stone. This couldn't be happening to my beautiful baby girl.

- Felicity, Ava’s mum

Ava Burnett receiving treatment in hospital


A biopsy from Ava's tumour revealed she had stage 4 neuroblastoma, with secondary cancer in her bone marrow. She began chemotherapy straight away. The drugs were so toxic, Felicity and her husband Mark had to wear protective clothing. But as gruelling as the treatment was, it did its job. After five months, Ava's tumour had shrunk and her bone marrow was clear.

I wept uncontrollably. The relief was immense.

- Felicity, Ava’s mum

After treatment

Because the cancer was so aggressive, Ava needed multiple hospital visits, scans and tests. After 14 months and a few false starts, she was declared in remission in October 2011. Ava says she doesn't remember the chemotherapy, but she does remember all the scans and ultrasounds that happened afterwards.

Ava Burnett with mother, father and siblings
Ava Burnett holding flowers


Today, Ava loves swimming, dancing and Taylor Swift. She struggles at school and with her short-term memory, but wants to be a doctor or nurse when she grows up.

How you can help

Give a gift

By giving a gift today, you can make a difference to the lives of children with cancer.

Ways to give

Fundraising and events

Get involved in one of our events or create your own to help find better, safer treatments for children with cancer.

Find an event


Join our diverse community of businesses, philanthropists and gamechangers, determined to help cure childhood cancer.

Learn more

Share your story

Have you been touched by childhood cancer and would like to share your story? Please get in touch today.

Share my story

Your donation will fund research that will save young lives!