Louisiana 4-year-old with cystic fibrosis awaits lung transplant

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 8:49 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2022 at 9:36 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A Louisiana 4-year-old was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at three weeks old. That paired with an infection in her lungs has kept Ava Thomas in the hospital for over 3 months now.

Ava Thomas is just like any other 4-year-old. She loves to swim, eat pizza and be silly.

“She’s just very spunky, there’s no other way to put it. just full of life, energetic, very sassy, very sassy,” her father John Thomas said.

Unlike other kids her age, Ava Thomas now spends her day at Children’s Hospital in Houston.

She’s been there since April 25, when Ava was intubated and placed on a ventilator after visiting the emergency room then the P-ICU at St. Tammany just days prior to her transfer to Houston.

“It shocked everyone,” John Thomas said.

Ava’s dad tells 7News she had been otherwise healthy and never visited the emergency room prior to this.

“What ever caused this exacerbation all the way from Children’s in New Orleans to Children’s at Texas, they cannot pinpoint why it hit her so hard and how quickly it did,” he said.

He said it’s not a common thing to happen to a cystic fibrosis patient, but that does make it harder on her current medical state.

“She’s currently on ECMO. what is does, it bypasses her lungs, it allows her lungs to rest and to try to heal,” John Thomas said.

ECMO is when blood is pumped outside of your body to remove carbon dioxide and then sends oxygen-filled blood back to into the body.

At this point, a lung transplant is Ava’s only option.

“It’s hard to describe because I have to stay positive, if it happens today or happens another 3 months from now. at the end of the day, I want her back home and she’s proven to us she’s a fighter she want’s to come back home too,” John Thomas said.

As this father waits for a match for his daughter, he said to never take life for granted.

“Just be appreciative of what you have, you know,” John Thomas said,

Something viral or bacterial caused her little lungs to be sick and due to the CF it is harder for her to fight off this infection.

A CaringBridge website was created for Ava. It’s a caring social network to help people stay connected with family and friends during a health event. To visit Ava’s website, CLICK HERE.

Ava’s grandmother has set up a Go Fund Me where you can learn more about Ava’s journey or donate to help with medical costs.

To view the Go Fund Me, CLICK HERE.

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