FROM being told that she’d be 99.9% brain damaged at birth to being 100% healthy today, a little Cork girl is a symbol of hope.
And now her mother is keeping a promise she made after her ‘miracle baby’ made a full recovery.
Linda Kearney’s world was turned up-side-down in 2007 when, at 20 weeks pregnant she was told her unborn baby had a growth on her head.
From Whitechurch, Linda and her husband Roy, who also have a two-and-a-half year-old daughter, Leah, were devastated.
But despite hearing a mother’s worst nightmare, within days Linda began to feel everything would be okay with unborn Ava.
Throughout the rest of her pregnancy Linda was monitored constantly, and had regular tests and scans.
Meanwhile the doctors were baffled as to what exactly the growth on Ava’s head was. As Linda’s pregnancy progressed the growth went from being the size of a pea to a plum to an orange and fears grew that the growth had penetrated into the baby’s brain.
It was unknown if the baby would even survive after birth.
However, on September 8, 2007, 21 days before her due date, Linda went into labour and her daughter was born in CUMH.
“She was 7 lbs 3oz. Roy wheeled me down to see her and they had put a little pink hat over the bump on her head. I knew by looking at her she was fine,” said Linda.
Ava was diagnosed with rapidly involuting congenital hemangioma, a rare benign vascular tumour in infants. So rare was her case that it was presented at Harvard.
“Because it was full of blood vessels they couldn’t operate or do a biopsy because if they opened her they feared she would bleed to death. Eventually she was put on steroids and the tumour started to reduce. It went down, down, down and in April 2009 Ava got the all clear. The growth was completely gone. Today at four-and-a-half she is a perfectly, happy, health, rogue and Linda, is now planning a zumba charity event to raise funds for the new cancer and cardiac units at Crumlin Children’s Hospital.
“I promised myself for years that I wanted to do this because I will never forget the kindness of the staff in Cork and Dublin. When you enter Crumlin you enter another world,” said Linda.
The fund-raiser takes place in the Hibernian Hotel in Mallow on June 30 with special guest on the night Seán Óg Ó hAilpín.
Pictured are the Kearney family, Ava, Linda, Leah and Roy, at their home in Farranastig, Whitechurch, Co. Cork,