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Avery Reyes: A Warrior Story

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Avery Reyes: A Warrior Story

Avery poses at the new Angel Wings at Fairplay Nursery.

Avery poses at the new Angel Wings at Fairplay Nursery.

Courtesy Facebook photo

Avery poses at the new Angel Wings at Fairplay Nursery.

Courtesy Facebook photo

Courtesy Facebook photo

Avery poses at the new Angel Wings at Fairplay Nursery.

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In our daily lives we deal with constraints and challenges that help us develop character and provide experience; but nothing can prepare a human being when he or she receives news that a loved one is diagnosed with cancer.

Samantha Skillern learned firsthand the dreaded news that her child, Avery Reyes, was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor called pilocystic astrocytoma; it was devastating news and an exponential emotional blow for Samantha who said, “my life changed drastically…I wanted to know all the information. I’m a realist and wanted to know all of my options, and did research about the diagnosis to make the right decisions.”

When facing a challenging situation, it’s natural to turn to family and friends for help; for Samantha this proved to be a scary situation. “Being a single parent at that time proved to be that much harder. I just put my all into my kids and took it day by day,” she said.

When a child is being treated for cancer their innocent minds do not grasp the concept of why so many doctors’ visits are needed; questions like: “Why do I have to take medicine to make me feel O.K.? Will I get well?” are some of the troubled questions that linger in the child’s mind.

It is important to try to talk to your child about these concerns; Samantha had to be strong in facing these challenges. “When she was diagnosed, she was a baby whose symptoms appeared at the age of three months, but she was diagnosed at one year old… it was hard. She went through a lot of intensive speech therapy because she could not tell me what hurts; at the age of three Avery had enough; two years of chemotherapy, needles, hair loss, sleep deprivation, and pain had taken its toll…that was hard and she asked me why, why, why, do I have a brain tumor?… That was difficult,” Samantha said.

Samantha, through it all, has remained in the counter offensive being open minded, assertive, having a positive outlook, and providing the most valuable weapon a mother can provide for a child in the fight against a brain tumor — LOVE. “…Now she’s seven…she more understands it because I’ve always been honest and open about what she has…always in a positive way…she’s not afraid of doctors nor needles, nor chemotherapy,” she said.

Although Samantha believes that one’s troubles ought to be deal with alone, she was mesmerized at the impact she and Avery had not only on her family but the community as well:  financial help from Denny’s, fund raisers from Courtney Construction, support from the Brother’s Keepers Motorcycle Club, and First Baptist Church, and the City of Panola. “They are amazing. When she was three the whole town came together for Avery’s Birthday Party with the theme of a Princess Party. They’ve been there for us pretty much since the beginning and they are part of our family…Carthage is a great town.”

This experience has brought Samantha and Avery closer spiritually to God and it is her conclusive belief that it is God who has provided the encouragement, the means, and strength to face this battle. Avery faces two more years of chemo but “I am capable of handling it because God gives me the strength to do so,” Samantha said.

Despite these challenges, Samantha is scheduled to graduate from Panola College with an associate degree in December, and works part time for the college while Avery is in school.

Facing a medical malady that is beyond comprehension for those not afflicted by it is a formidable endeavor. However, Samantha and Avery have displayed the qualities that enable them to rise above the circumstances that are meant to harm or maim the human spirit.

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment

One Response to “Avery Reyes: A Warrior Story”

  1. Kim Cothron on October 9th, 2018 10:22 am

    We have the utmost respect for Avery and her family. Your courage is an inspiration to all! We love you Avery!
    Mike and Kim (Indy)

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