After Her Own Battle With Childhood Cancer, One Family Helps A Toddler Also Fighting The Disease

Posted at 9:19 PM, Jun 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-28 23:49:59-04

STURGIS, Mich. (June 28th, 2014) -They are two little girls who know what it means to fight for their lives.  Lily Strang is a seven-year-old who just beat childhood cancer while Ava Kernagis, two-years-old, is about to start another round of chemotherapy for her Leukemia.

At such a young age Princess Ava, as she’s known, has been through a lifetime of pain.

“Our next worry is her next run of heavy chemo,” said Ava’s father Mike Kernagis.  “The doctors are very positive that she is going to do just fine and thus far she has handled it very well but it still is what it is and it makes you very nervous.”

She will continue to battle the disease with her parents, her five brothers and sister and others by her side.  After Ava started the chemotherapy in May, the focus for everyone in her life became getting her healthy.

“You thought you had a lot of things that were important, now you have one,” said her father.

The family is even finding help from friends they never knew they had, like seven-year-old Lily Strang.

“This is one of the first things she has been able to do,” said Erin Furr, Lily’s mother.  “She hasn’t been able to get out of the house or do anything.  She has been in isolation.  So I am very proud of her because she said, ‘Hey can I do it?’ and what better way to get out then by helping someone else.”

FOX 17 first introduced you to Lily, a girl born without thumbs, who went on to fight cancer and win, months ago.  We were there as she returned home from a Cincinnati hospital in February.

“We actually just got back from her going through chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant a couple months ago,” said Furr.  “So knowing what it was like and having been there before, we wanted to jump in.”

Furr found Ava’s story online and since she has been in the same position with her own daughter, she felt the need to give back in someway.  Furr organized a bake-sale at the Sturgis Fest with the money raised going to help Ava’s family with expenses associated with getting treatment.

“It definitely leaves you with a warm spot inside,” said Ava’s father.

There is no price-tag on the inspiration Lily is able to bring just by being at the event in person.

“It’s amazing to see what Lily has gone through and what Ava is about to go through and know that she can come out even stronger after it all,” said Ava’s mother Becky Weiderman.

Ava and her family are expecting at least two more years of chemotherapy ahead of them.  The family said if all goes according to plan she should be happy and healthy by the time she enrolls in kindergarten.