Nashville, TN–In 2018, when country music artist Ava Paige was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) at the age of fourteen, she questioned what it would mean for her blossoming music career. That same year, Kayla and Kyle Holloway received a similar call. Their one-year-old son, Woods, had been diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma, a rare form of liver cancer. Only 40 miles apart, these two families had received life-changing news, but it was this connection that eventually put the two families on a collision course. Just two years since their diagnoses, Woods is in remission and Ava is stable and still receiving treatment, and now their families are giving back by partnering with Resilience Gives’ Socks with Stories: Paying it Forward Initiative, where Ava, Woods, and other pediatric cancer survivors from across the country have the opportunity to donate socks and spread a message of hope to families in the thick of treatment.
Each year, an estimated 15,780 children between the ages of 0-19 are diagnosed with cancer in the US. And although survival rates have increased to 80% of children living five years or more, advocates like the Paige and Holloway families aren’t satisfied with one in five children dying. “Fighting cancer is hard. It takes a lot out of you and you end up taking a lot of help from others. But now that I’m getting better, I want to give back,” says Ava. Kayla agreed, “Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It could be your child or your grandchild. We have to do everything we can to help them.” With the help of survivors like Ava and Woods, Resilience Gives has set a goal of donating 10,000 pairs of non-slip socks to children in hospitals across the country. Ava and Woods’ families will be visiting the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital this November to make their donation, two coordinated stops on a journey to support children with pediatric cancer while sharing stories of resilience.
And resilient they are. Over the past two years, the two warriors have undergone a combined fifty blood transfusions, and numerous rounds of surgery and chemotherapy for Woods and Ava to reach stable conditions, but now, the pair of survivors want to give back. This desire has led to their partnership with Resilience Gives, the North Carolina-based sock company which works with children who are battling cancer to design fun, non-slip socks inspired by their stories of resilience. Woods, Ava, and their families hope the Paying It Forward Initiative can spread hope to those who need it most — children fighting pediatric cancer just like them.