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Salem girl's cancer fight draws army of supporters
Bearing the scars from recent surgery to remove an aggressive brain tumor, Ava Doiron-Franklin, 5, played a game on her iPad in her Salem home. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)
But life has a way of changing in an instant.
Ava underwent brain surgery at Boston Children's Hospital the following day, and since then her days have been a whirlwind of doctor visits, chemotherapy and radiation.
Ava's head was partially shaved in preparation for surgery, and the remaining locks of her honey-colored hair will likely fall out from her ongoing treatments, which currently consist of daily radiation treatments and oral chemotherapy, the latter so powerful that her fathers need to put on gloves before handling it.
Next week she'll begin a course of intravenous chemotherapy.
In the meantime, Ava has already made quite an impression on Londonderry High School junior Sophie Bartlett, who has known her since she was a baby.
Bartlett and senior Maria Gagliardi, who also knew Ava from her part-time job at the day care she used to attend, approached English teacher Steve Juster about how they could help. Juster oversees the school-wide Pantene Beautiful Lengths program.
Meola, who has styled the shorn heads of hundreds of Londonderry High School hair donors over the past seven years, helped Ava and her parents add some personal touches to the wig, giving it the precise look of Ava's actual hair.
"She's still only five," Frankland said. "I think this is going to be very hard for her."
Those wishing to send well wishes to Ava during her illness are encouraged to visit the "Ava's Army" Facebook page.
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