Indiana girl, 2, loses battle with cancer

Ava Parker got to spend a day at school.

A young Indiana girl has lost her battle with cancer, but the lesson she taught others will live on.

Ava Parker's family posted on their Facebook page, "At 7:03 am 1/9/2014 my beautiful angel received her wings. She fought a long hard battle and continued her fight until her last breath. I thank you all for supporting us during this time and ask to give us space. God Bless."

The visitation and funeral for Ava will be Monday (January 13) from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Charity Church at 2700 South Tibbs Avenue. Burial will immediately follow the service at West Newton Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, Ava's family says donations will be accepted to help cover expenses at A donation will also be made to a childhood cancer awareness organization.

Ava, 2, fought a rare and deadly disease wanted to do something many kids dread doing every day - she wanted to ride a bus and go to school. Eyewitness News met her in December and we were there as she got her wish.

Buses arrive every day at Liberty Early Elementary School in Decatur Township, but Tuesday, one bus was different. It carried a special young passenger and her family.

"It's about a celebration of life," said Christie Parker, Ava Parker's grandmother.

"When we found out last Monday, that our days are truly numbered with her, I wanted to give her what she truly wanted," said Kacy Parker, Ava's mother.

And what Ava really wants is to be a big girl and go to school. She rode the bus, then got the opportunity to cut and color and do all the things normal preschoolers get to do.

"There's no words," said Kacy Parker. "I literally have no words for the amount of joy we have...that we're able to do this for her. It's a light in a dark place for her."

At 21 months, Ava was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She's had chemotherapy multiple times and had a tumor removed from her head. The treatment has left her blind in one eye and partially deaf. She was in remission for two months when last week came news she only has a few weeks to live.

"I have to remind myself a hundred times a day to smile. 'Cause it's so hard when you get the news that we have to get out of take care of your children, to smile," said Kacy.

A mother smiling to make sure, that amid her pain and discomfort, her daughter smiles.

"She fights every day sometimes to have a smile...but she still finds one," said Ava's grandmother.

A positive attitude from a family that has learned to take nothing for granted.

"I used to try to keep a real tidy house and now it's just not so much importance to that, the small things any more," Christie Parker said. "If you have time to spend with family, go spend time with family and don't worry about cutting the grass."

AvaStrong website