Meet 13-year-old Avery Sax of Moorpark, California, who has a large inoperable mass in her brain with over 100 active aneurysms. The doctors told her three years ago that she had a 50% chance of living one more year, and no chance of making it to the three year point she has now passed.
Avery’s grueling treatment included ten rounds of brain radiation, as she describes: “You’re fitted with a skin-tight mask and left alone in a room for 30 minutes with your head locked down in place with screws and drills.”
Nevertheless, says Avery, “I give my mom a thumbs up and I don’t think twice about holding up the radiation department’s tight schedule so that I can say the Shema before each session. And you know what? The radiation tech said I was the first person he ever saw praying. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was the first person who smiled and hugged the doctors and radiation staff every day of treatment too! It feels good to feel good. And it feels good to believe!”
Avery is an active member of Chabad of Moorpark, California, led by Rabbi Shimy and Mrs. Devorah Leah Heidingsfeld. She shares her inspiring story in the upcoming Tammuz issue of the N’shei Chabad Newsletter. After she spoke at Chabad of Moorpark’s annual “Spa for the Soul” event earlier this year, dozens of women were inspired to take on new mitzvos in her honor.
Mrs. Heidingsfeld relates, “Andi and her daughter McKenzie [age 13] were at the event and were thinking about which mitzvah to take on. They considered Shabbos candles, but realized that their Friday schedule was completely packed until 7 p.m., with lots of after-school activities. It would be too hard to commit to lighting candles on time every Friday evening.
“Then they heard Avery’s powerful talk. They heard about how Shabbos warms her up and brings her peace and all the other beautiful things she said.
“Well, not only did they commit to lighting Shabbos candles every week, they also decided to do the full Shabbos dinner every single week. They rescheduled all their activities for different days of the week so they could be home at 4:00 p.m. on Fridays. Together they prepare all the traditional Shabbos foods and turn off phones and TVs.
“Andi shared this with me one night as we were making challah together in honor of her commitment.
“This is just one of Avery’s many accomplishments. I feel humbled and privileged to be considered a friend by Avery and Kimber Sax.”
Unfortunately, Avery’s illness has left the Sax family financially devastated. Because of Avery’s needs, her mother has not been able to work consistently for the past three years, and is also struggling with health challenges of her own. They lost their home and are now living with family members in San Diego. They need help to cover basic expenses, insurance and transportation. Avery’s dream is to move back “home” to Chabad of Moorpark.
Chabad is Avery’s family. We ask the worldwide Chabad community to please contribute to “The brAvery Fund” via the Chabad of Moorpark website, www.JewishMoorpark.com/donate. Please specify “Avery” in the details box. To read more about Avery, visit www.BrAveryNow.Org