Ava Grace Parnell
When Ava Grace Parnell was almost two, she kept getting unexplained fevers and frequently was sick.
Her mother, Candy Hamil, kept taking Ava to her pediatrician in Bishopville. In January 2014, a nurse practitioner there ordered lab work. When the results came back, Ava immediately was referred to the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.
“Ava was immediately hospitalized for three weeks, said her Aunt Beejay Parnell, a registered nurse. “She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and her liver and spleen were involved.”
Ava has had 28 months of treatment and now comes to the clinic monthly. When it came time for doctors to remove the port in Ava’s chest, the nursing team came up with a fun way to help calm Ava before the procedure.
Ava loves the movie “Frozen” and especially loves the song, “Let it Go.” “She always requested that song during chemotherapy,” said Parnell. Ava’s pediatric operating room nursing team, Tracie Glisson, Scrub Tech, Megan Divine, RN, OR Circulator, and Michael Storm, CRNA, decided to sing with Ava at her bedside before the port removal procedure. Ava’s anesthesiologist, Mary “Melle” Dalton, MD, took video to capture the moment for Ava’s family.
“The care at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital has been excellent,” said Parnell. “Dr. Ron Neuberg has been our saving grace. He explained leukemia in terms families can understand. The entire staff makes us feel like family.”
Today, 4-year-old Ava is active in T-ball, tap, ballet and gymnastics. “She still has a compromised immune system, but she is in school and getting stronger,” said Parnell.