Ava Holder passed away at just 4 years old, but her bright, courageous spirit made a lasting impact on all who met her.
Ava spent most of her your life fighting stage 4 neuroblastoma. Eventually, after every treatment option had been exhausted, and as Ava's fragile body began to shut down, her family brought her to a pediatric hospice facility near their home in Arizona. It was one of only three in the country to offer in-patient child focused hospice care, and it embraced Ava and her family in peace and comfort during her final days.
"I didn't want her to pass away in the hospital or at home," said Chrisie Funari, Ava's mom "hospice is important for the child first, but the whole family benefits from it. We were walked through the process and someone was there 24 hours a day. At home we wouldn't have had that and it would've been scary."
Ava's great uncle and aunt, Ron and Joanne Moquist, cherished Ava and shared in every stage of her brave journey. It was through the heartache of her death that the couple found inspiration to help champion Sanford's Gift of Time campaign. The campaign's goals aligned with their own wish to give children like Ava in the Sioux Fall's region, and their families, somewhere to turn for hospice care.
"No parent should have to ask 'what now?' or wonder where to go," said Joanne Moquist. "As a caring, compassionate society we need to take care of the least among us and that's most definitely the children and families."
The couple's significant lead gift in July 2015 helped push the effort nearly half way to its $15 million goal, building critical momentum for the project.
"We are proud to be part of this Sanford hospice campaign, and we hope others from the community will join us," said Ron Moquist, formerly the CEO and president of Raven Industries in Sioux Falls. "This facility will fill a great need in our community and give people of all ages a place of lover and compassion in those final days."
Ava's House is expected to open in November 2017.