Supporting Avery: Fundraising efforts help little girl fighting rare brain cancer

Posted at 10:16 PM, Apr 21, 2018

WEST MICHIGAN  --It's one of the most resistant of all cancers to chemotherapy that affects children.

Two months ago,  6-year-old Avery June Betts was diagnosed with a serious brain tumor: a type of cancer called Diffused Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, also known as DIPG. There is no known cure, and it's tough to treat.

Now, many people across the area are coming together to support Avery and her family. Kelly Ford heard about Avery's cancer journey and stepped forward, organizing a fundraiser to help her, and raise awareness.

She says, “To see this grassroots community and put a virtual net under these parents and children - because there is a younger daughter, as well - is very touching."

Ford says she's never met a child like this little girl.

“She really is a bright, intelligent sympathetic, empathetic, young child," Ford said.

Hundreds of people showed up to the fundraiser, many even taking part in the "Lemon Challenge" to help get the word out about this rare type of cancer.

Avery's family has given many years of service to their immediate community and West Michigan; and now community members are joining together to help them.

Her dad serves as captain of the Saugatuck Fire Department, and her mom works for American Medical Response. Avery's mother also serves on the Ganges Fire Department.

FOX 17 spoke to Avery's aunt, Diana VandenBrink, over the weekend. She said the community support is very heartwarming.

“There’s just so many people here that we all know, and they’ve all turned out," VandenbBrink said. "Donations have been amazing; everyone has just been dumping money in the bucket. It’s great.”

While fundraising efforts took place along the lakeshore, Avery and her parents were in Georgia, taking part in a clinical trial.

The family said without treatment, Avery would only have a few months to live. They're hoping treatment and research will buy her more time.

If you want to help continue the fundraising efforts, another fundraiser will be held at the Kirby on April 26th.