While others are wrapping gifts, baking cookies and preparing for Santa’s arrival, one local family will spend their first Christmas with their newborn daughter at Riley Children’s Hospital.
According to Jerika Sizemore, it was the constant fevers and inability to hold down food that first alarmed her that something was amiss with her newborn daughter Ava. Seeking help for her baby, Sizemore took the infant to the hospital four times before Ava, weighing only 10 pounds at 4 months old, was transported to Lutheran for treatment on Sept. 28. The infant was soon after transported to Riley Children’s Hospital on Oct. 3, where she would spend much of the next three months of her life.
On Oct. 6, Sizemore discovered that her daughter had Severe Combined Immunodeficiency.
“It is also known as the bubble boy disease,” explained Sizemore who is currently at Riley Children’s Hospital. “Children with the disease are basically born without an immune system. On Nov. 18, Ava had a stem cell transplant and then she was doing very good. Then she went into the Intensive Care Unit for respiratory distress.”
News continued to get worse for the Sizemore family. Though Ava was released from ICU she was soon readmitted for a hemorrhage in her lungs.
“She is going to be in ICU for at least a few more weeks,” stated Sizemore. “This happens to less than two percent of children with her condition and none that have had a stem cell transplant. It was deadly. Wednesday she got really bad…Friday they told us we were lucky to have her here.”
As Ava continues to fight bravely for her life, her mother and father, Jason Sizemore, both stand vigil over her bedside at the hospital. Because of the ongoing medical issues, neither feel comfortable leaving her side. The family, who have two more children at home, have set up a fund for those willing to help offset the cost of Ava’s rising medical bills and the family’s strained living expenses.
Seeking to raise $7,000, you can share the spirit of Christmas by giving to the Sizemore family through their GoFundMe.com page, or by mailing donations to