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Polk County 1-year-old featured on billboards to raise awareness for spina bifida

Ava Reyes was born in 2018 with spina bifida
Posted at 10:05 PM, Nov 08, 2019

POLK COUNTY, Fla. -- A Polk County baby was recently featured on national billboards to raise awareness for spina bifida.

One-year-old Ava Reyes was featured on billboards in Orlando and across the country in October.

Her mother was excited her daughter was chosen to be featured on the billboards to raise awareness on World Spina Bifida Day.

"At 15 months old, she's driven. She's like oh I want it, I'm going to do it," said the girl's mother, Erika Reyes.

Ava was born in 2018 with spina bifida. It's a condition that affects the spine and usually is apparent at birth. It is a type of neural tube defect, according to the CDC.

"She has a story behind her. They want to be heard and they're just as capable as the rest of us," said Reyes.

Ava's mother shares her daughter's journey on a Facebook page,Fight Like Ava.

She shares videos of her daughter crawling and pulling herself up.

"They thought that she would not be able to feel her feet or her ankles and she can feel even her toes. She actually came out wiggling her toes," said Reyes.

Reyes said her daughter was born at 3 pounds, 5 ounces. She spent months in a NICU and two brain surgeries. Before birth, she had a fetal surgery. Her child's condition is not curable, but the surgery would increase her chances of mobility.

"My biggest thing is she's a very happy child. She loves people and she loves life. She is determined and she's motivated," said Reyes.

Reyes hopes her child's story inspires others.

"It might take them longer. It might take them a different route, but they're capable," said Reyes.