NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Make-A-Wish grants 6-year-old Sarasota girl a new puppy

Ava received a yellow Lab
Genevieve Melberth
Posted at 7:05 PM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 23:33:53-04

SARASOTA, FLA. — Make-A-Wish Southern Florida granted a wish for a 6-year-old Sarasota girl who is battling brain cancer.

Last weekend, Ava Melberth went out for breakfast. She returned to find her home decorated with balloons. Friends and family gathered outside her family's home, Everyone enjoyed a treat from an ice cream truck.

"They were giving kids ice cream and then they said, is there anything else left? They gave a puppy to her and her face, it was just the best reaction, I could have hoped for, she was so excited. She was so happy," said Ava's mother, Genevieve Melberth.

Ava's wish was to receive a new puppy. Her wish was granted when she received a yellow Lab named "Kiki."

"I want to take her to get a Puppachino at Starbucks," said 6-year-old Ava.

In September of 2020, doctors diagnosed Ava with medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer. It is more common in children. Her mother said symptoms started with headaches and occasional vomiting.

Ava needed numerous surgeries, six weeks of radiation and seven months of chemotherapy.

"So I was really in shock in the beginning and then I kind of just went in autopilot and I’m like we have to do what’s best for her. Our whole family moved to St. Jude which is in Memphis, Tennessee for a year because they have probably have one of the best oncologists," said Genevieve.

Ava's mother said she is grateful to Make-A-Wish. Make-A-Wish Southern Florida makes wishes possible by raising money through corporate sponsorships, special events, foundation grants, and individual contributions.

“The wishes we grant aren’t just nice, they’re necessary. Research shows the anticipation of a wish and the memories made during them can have a positive and significant impact on the health and well-being of the children, families, and extended networks we reach," said Taylor Marini, regional director, Make-A-Wish®Southern Florida.

Ava's mother said her daughter's cancer diagnosis made her appreciate every moment together.

"Enjoy every day with your kids, make the most of it, before she was diagnosed, I wasn’t a cancer mom and now I am. I think if anything, it’s been terrible for her and for our family, but it makes me appreciate time I spend with her more," said Genevieve.

Friends and family have set up a GoFundMe page for Ava and her family.