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Teaming up for Donation – “Team Avrie”

What a difference a year makes. On July 9, “Team Avrie” will take to the streets of Columbus to celebrate the life of two-year-old girl who, just last summer, was fighting to survive.

In July 2010, the Nelms family thought their daughter, Avrie, was having issues teething after she came down with a low-grade fever. The fever continued to rise. A few days later, she was struggling to breathe and doctors discovered that Avrie only had 20 percent function in her heart.

Aaron, Avrie, Melissa and Macie Nelms

Aaron, Avrie, Melissa and Macie Nelms

“We were told a virus affected her heart,” said Melissa, Avrie’s mother. “We hoped it was just inflammation from the virus and we tried to fight it, but she never got better.”

Avrie’s condition continued to decline and she was listed for a heart transplant a few weeks later. Avrie was so sick she remained in the hospital and eventually needed a mechanical heart to keep her alive until a transplant was available.

“It was terrifying, it all happened so fast,” said Melissa.

On Sept. 13, 2010 the Nelms family received the call that would change their lives forever. A donor heart was available for Avrie.

“We couldn’t believe it,” Melissa said. “But then it sunk in that someone else lost their child. We cried for them.”

Discharged a month after her heart transplant, Avrie made a dramatic recovery and is now home with her family. To express their gratitude for Avrie’s second chance at life, Melissa decided to put together a team for the Dash for Donation.

“It’s just another way for us to express how thankful we are that we still have our daughter and show the public that miracles do really happen,” said Melissa. “If it wasn’t for Avrie’s donor we wouldn’t be here.”

More than 30 friends, family members, neighbors, doctors and even some people the Nelmses have never met will make up “Team Avrie” at the Dash for Donation. All will wear shirts that say “Thank You Donor Family” on the back.

“It’s more than just thanking our donor family, it’s a statement to all donor families to let them know how much they’re appreciated,” said Melissa.

You can join Team Avrie and celebrate life July 9 at the Dash for Donation! To register or learn more, click here.


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