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Thursday, Sep. 29, 2016

Prom dress sale raises funds for family of 3-year-old fighting leukemia

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ava Simonsen's dream is to meet Cinderella; the 3-year-old loves playing princess.

The daughter of Derek and Rachel Simonsen, Cherokee, was diagnosed with acute leukemia on Oct. 6 and has been undergoing treatment at an Omaha, Neb. hospital.

Friends and family have been creative in helping raise funds to help defray the medical costs. Taking Ava's love for dressing up into account, her aunt Valerie (Perrin) Cronin came up with "Ava's Dress Sale" - just in time for prom season.

Many prom and bridesmaid dresses have been donated from all over Iowa for this sale. There will be over 100 dresses to chose from - all sizes and styles - priced from $25-$75 and will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. The event is set for 1-4 p.m. at the Cherokee Community Center (lower level), 530 West Bluff St.

If you have prom dresses or bridesmaid dresses hanging in your closets and would like to donate them to this cause, please contact Valerie at 712-261-0087 or email her at valerieperrin@gmail.com or Jill at 712-229-2729 or email her at jillyabbott@hotmail.com

Dresses may also be dropped off at the Cherokee Community Center on Sunday between 9 a.m. and noon.

The family spent a month living in Omaha, after the diagnosis, at the Children's Hospital and then moved on to the Rainbow House.

Now the family goes to Omaha once a week for Ava's treatments so the family is shouldering traveling expenses as well as hospital bills and medical costs. Treatments are expected to last until her 6th birthday. Ava will turn 4 on March 8.

Ava needs constant care and must be kept away from any germs/infections/viruses that might make her sick. Mom Rachel is unable to work out of the home as she is caring for Ava; Dad Derek is a farmer. Ava also has a 6 1/2-month- old sister, Ella, who was only 6 weeks old when the whole family had to pack up and move to Omaha to start Ava's treatment.

Ava loves to help out her dad on the farm (feeding calves, hauling manure), driving her Barbie Jeep, playing dress-up (especially as Cinderella), and rocking out with her Hannah Montana guitar.

The little girl's outlook is good, doctors have told the family, and it is hoped she will be able to start kindergarten on time.

Also at Sunday's event blue t-shirts (Ava's favorite color) with the words, "I wear orange for Ava" printed on them. Orange is the color the American Cancer Society has designated for leukemia.

Commented family friend Jill Abbott about the family, " Rachel and Derek (and their families) are always first in line to help anyone out, so at a time like this we're all just returning the favor."

Ava's grandparents are Craig and Bev Simonsen, Aurelia, and Tim and Lisa Perrin, Cherokee.

There are two banks that have funds set up in Cherokee if you would like to help the family:

NorthStar Community Credit Union

Attn: Ava Simonsen Fund

P.O. Box 556

Cherokee, IA 51012

Cherokee State Bank

Attn: Ava Simonsen Fund

212 W Willow

Cherokee, IA 51012

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