Not many of us can say that we have lived an extraordinary life by age eight.
Avery Alfortish is much like your average eight-year old. He enjoys baseball, spending time with his friends, participating in CrossFit Kids, but there is another part to his story that is truly extraordinary.
Unlike other kids, Avery had to learn how to walk, write, and talk again after undergoing brain surgery in 2018. Avery was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, or brain cancer, after suffering from intermittent headaches and vomiting.
Avery’s parents, Danielle and Blake Alfortish, took him in to Children’s Hospital New Orleans for an MRI in May 2018. Avery was admitted to the hospital a month later.
Danielle says that the shock of Avery’s diagnosis really altered their family dynamic.
“Our love and appreciation for one another as individuals and as a family unit has changed as well as the value of life itself,” says Danielle.
Avery underwent surgery for removal of 99% of his tumor by Children’s Hospital physician Dr. Jerome Volk, who specializes in pediatric neurosurgery.
“Dr. Volk was able to remove almost all of the tumor and Avery’s MRI’s have been clear ever since,” says Danielle. “I whole-heartedly believe that Avery is the true walking, talking miracle that he is because of Dr. Volk. Not only did he do his absolute best in the operating room, he was honest with us always. The compassion and attention that he has given to Avery from day one is exceptional.”
Dr. Volk was not only Avery’s surgeon, but his teammate and cheerleader throughout his journey to health. To motivate him to progress in his rehabilitation and recovery, Dr. Volk challenged Avery to run the hospital’s Jazz 5K together. On October 27, 2018, Avery, Dr. Volk, and Avery’s family and friends or “Team Avery Bravery” crossed the finish line, a line he would soon cross in his race to beat cancer.
On August 7,2019, Avery rang the “chemo bell”, marking the end of his nine cycles of chemotherapy.
Danielle says that Avery is currently enjoying the start of his third-grade school year and living his best life, and we think so too!
His classmates are incredibly proud of Avery’s resilience. They are throwing Avery a surprise party themed “No-Mo Chemo” at Candyland Inflatable Party Place, who donated their facility just for Avery.
Way to go, Avery! You’re a superhero to all of us!