Avery Kiehl has been fighting a rare brain tumor since 2014, but her most recent challenge has been battling scoliosis.
“I had scoliosis surgery in February, because I had a ‘s’ shaped curve in my spine,” explains Avery.
“They’re not quite sure if it has to do with the tumor she has or if it’s a result of the fast growth with the hormones that she’s taking. So she just recently in February had spinal surgery, where they put a rod in her spine to straighten out the curve,” explains Avery’s dad Brad Kiehl.
But the good news is, Avery’s recovering well from her surgery and was recently able to go back to school.
“You can imagine being a middle schooler, and all the changes that children are going through anyway, (and then) to have a curved spine and a hunch in her back. Now she’s tall, since they straightened her out. It added another 2 inches to her height!” boasts Brad.
In the meantime, Avery’s been going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for check-ups every 6 months. But they just got some great news!
“I just went to St. Jude and everything came back good! That was my 5 year check up, and since everything came back good, I (now) get to go back in one whole year!” Avery says.
According to Brad, “The tumor is stable. When they look at the MRI, they have a very hard time finding what’s left, which is good.”
“It was really exciting to hear that we can get to come back in a year. But on the other hand, it was kind of upsetting because I love coming to St. Jude and seeing everyone,” says Avery.
St. Jude is now a home away from home for the Kiehls, who thank the hospital everyday for saving Avery’s life.
“Without St. Jude, Avery wouldn’t be where she’s at today. Our family wouldn’t be at where we are today. It doesn’t just solve the challenges the children are going through, but it gives the families an opportunity to be a family and focus on life,” Brad says.
“It makes you thankful for what I’ve been through, and that I am this far. It’s just amazing that they have great doctors, and you just have to keep going on,” says Avery.
Fourteen year old Avery is now finishing up 8th grade, her final year in middle school! After the good news from St. Jude and a full recovery from her scoliosis surgery, she is now able to focus on band and her artwork.
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