Ormskirk school girl set to be a calendar girl for Christmas

An Aughton schoolgirl has launched her annual appeal for hundreds of advent calendars to cheer up children who are undergoing cancer treatment in hospital this Christmas.

Six-year-old Ava Stokes and her family came up with the idea to donate advent calendars to Alder Hey and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospitals after their own personal experience.

At the age of 19 months, Ava was diagnosed with cancer and spent the next few years in and out of hospitals undergoing various treatments, including chemotherapy, a liver transplant and a bone marrow transplant.

Her Mum, Kelly Stokes, 40, said: “Unfortunately, we know from our own experiences how tough it is to be in hospital with your child, especially at this time of year.

“We wanted to give something back to the wonderful hospitals where Ava was treated and working with the doctors and nurses we came up with the idea of advent calendars.

“This is the third year we have run the appeal and so far we have given away hundreds advent calendars.

“It may seem such a small thing, but these small gestures makes such a difference when you are going through such a traumatic experience.”

Sarah Wilson, whose son Noah received an advent calendar in 2016 during his bone marrow transplant, said: “That advent calendar honestly gave him something to look forward to everyday. He’d rush over to it in the morning just to see what he got. A simple but perfect present to count through the days.”

Following on from the success of their calendar appeal, the Stokes family launched The For Ava Foundation, which provides boxes of treats for children and their families, who are in isolation in hospital.

Mark Stokes, 42, added: “In 2016, Ava received a second cancer diagnosis and had to undergo a bone marrow transplant at Manchester Children’s Hospital.

“She spent many weeks on the isolation ward and was not event allowed contact with her big brother, Alex. It is an incredibly tough experience for any family to endure and we wanted to do something to help others going through the same thing.

“We came up the idea of creating Be There Boxes, which are full of toys, crafts, pyjamas to keep the children entertained but also vouchers for the parents and siblings.

“We learnt from the advent calendar appeal that it is these relatively inexpensive, small gestures, which really do make all the difference.”

Here’s how you can donate:

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