Saturday, March 25, 2017

Local Saturday - April and Ava

Hundreds of thousands of us are captivated by a giraffe (still pregnant as I blog this) living in Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York.

But I am just as captivated by (as a famous journalist once based a long series of broadcasts on) "the rest of the story."

April the Giraffe lives about 30 minutes from where I live.  This park is owned by a man by the name of Jordan Patch, who you will see in this video along with zoologist Allysa and keeper Corey, and a bunch of tortoises. (why tortoises? You'll have to watch the video).

Last year, Jordan Patch and his wife Colleen welcomed the birth of their first daughter, Ava.  But this birth was not your usual birth.  Seven weeks before Colleen's due date, Colleen showed signs of premature labor, and a sonogram was done.  Soon after, doctors gave the couple dire news.

Their unborn baby had an arachnoid cyst — between the surface of the brain and the cranial base or on the arachnoid membrane, one of the three membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord.  The cyst was monitored by neurologists, but, two weeks before her due date, labor had to be induced due to the cyst's rapid growth.

After birth, and a number of health emergencies, a diagnosis emerged.

Ava has a condition called agenesis of the corpus callosum, further compounded by infantile spasms.  In layperson's terms, the two hemispheres of Ava's brain are not connected.  This condition probably stemmed from the existence of the cyst.

Doctors don't know Ava's prognosis.  The condition could result in nothing.  Or it could result in Ava being severely disabled.  She may never walk.  She may have severe physical or mental deficits.  The Patch family may not know the entire truth for several years.

The Patch family has not let that uncertainty stop them.  Already, they and Animal Adventure have held a fundraiser for another local family with a baby challenged by a serious condition called "Ava's Little Heroes".  They wanted to take the love their community showed them and "pay it forward".  There will be another fundraiser this summer.

Many watching April did not know about the behind the scenes drama of Ava Patch, the baby whose nursery is decorated in giraffe prints and who helps feed carrots to April and her mate, Oliver.


There will also be an online naming contest when the giraffe calf is born.  With each $1 contribution, you will get a vote, and the proceeds will go to some worthy causes, including an animal conservation foundation in Africa, maintaining the local giraffes at the park, and for "Ava's Little Heroes".

And mark your calendars for May 13, when Animal Adventure Park opens for its fifth season, and show your support of the Patch family, and animal conservation.

13 comments:

  1. Fascinating post. I'm just concerned by the smallness of Oliver's "bedroom". Is this only because of the video, or does he always have such a little space?

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    1. I haven't been in the barn, but I understand it's more an angle of the webcam. Also, Oliver is young, smaller than April, and will be growing over the next few years, so I truly hope they do expand his space. I plan to visit Animal Adventure when the opening crowds fill out. I also know someone whose daughter is applying to be hired for the summer there. This woman has worked in the hippo-therapy field and I doubt her daughter would apply to a place that is not treating their animals well. It would be good for me to have a sequel, and check out the concerns of many.

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  2. This is so heartbreaking and endearing at the same time. I hope Ava has a bright future and a healthy life and that the Giraffe baby is born healthy! <3

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    1. I also wish the very best outcome for Ava and her parents, Jordan and Colleen.

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  3. It is so hard when your little one is suffering. It's heartbreaking. My grandchildren (twins) were born three months early at only 2 lbs. They spent months in the NICU. It was excruciating. I think they should name of the baby giraffe after the brave little girl AVA!

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    1. I think so, too - or, Patch if the baby is a "he". I do intend to vote. I think I trust the money raised will be spent where the Patch family says it will go.

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  4. What an amazing back story. Thanks for sharing it, Alana.

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  5. Brains are fascinating. They compensate in such great ways. She may be lucky. But as for naming contests... Boaty McBoatface anyone? I'd worry.

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  6. A little tough on the heart, Thanks for sharing Alana!

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  7. I'm a woman of faith. I hope Ava's parents have faith to draw on. How frightening and heartbreaking, watching her grow and yet not knowing whether she'll be alright. I will include Ava and her parents in my prayers. Thank you, Alana.

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  8. This is a lovely story that touches the heart. Thanks for sharing, Alana!

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