Walking for a Cure (and a Special Little Girl)

Ariana Davis is 10 years old. She is the daughter of Assistant Chief Shawn Davis of the Ridge Fire Department in Ridge, NY. She was diagnosed with Juvenile Scoliosis when she was five, and asthma and multiple allergies and seizures when she was six...


Ariana Davis is 10 years old. She is the daughter of Assistant Chief Shawn Davis of the Ridge Fire Department in Ridge, NY. She was diagnosed with Juvenile Scoliosis when she was five, and asthma and multiple allergies and seizures when she was six.

Ariana is a very special little girl always thinking of others far above herself. She is being treated for her Scoliosis at the Shriners Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. During our visits there, she noticed how many children have illnesses far more serious then hers and she said, “Mommy and Daddy I want to do something to help all those kids at the hospital, they need so much more than I do.” We looked into it and found that the pop tops on soda cans are collected by the hospital, which uses the money raised to help make the stay of the kids who are admitted into the hospital a little easier. Over the last few years, Ariana has delivered more than 150 pounds of pop tops to the hospital as well as car load of new and lightly used toys.

Two years ago, Ariana was diagnosed with Bronchiectasis. So far, the Cystic Fibrosis tests have been inconclusive. The doctors cannot tell us either way if she has CF or not. We are told we have to treat her symptoms, which are the same as CF. As with most CF patients, Ariana has to wake up every morning and put on a special vest that fills up with air and vibrates her chest, and she does that for 20 minutes. Ariana has to repeat this treatment at night before she goes to bed, for a total of 40 minutes a day. Due to her Scoliosis, she has to wear a special brace 23 hours a day. That leaves her with only 20 minutes a day to take a shower and get a hug from Mommy and Daddy. Recently, Ariana has been diagnosed with sleep apnea and now has to wear a special mask while she sleeps. As you can see Ariana has a very full day, every day.

When someone has Scoliosis, they wear their brace until they stop growing. In most cases, that is around the age of 15. If the curve of the spine is still in need of correction, the next treatment is surgery. However, now that Ariana has been diagnosed with Bronchiectasis/CF, it looks like surgery is no longer an option. The reason for that is the spinal surgery requires the deflation of the lungs and going in through the chest cavity. Due to her condition, Ariana’s lungs may not re-inflate after the surgery. So our options are now limited. Ariana is as active as she can be and to look at her you would never know she endures all that she does. She is a trooper and an inspiration to her mother and me.

Since Ariana has been dealing with her illnesses, she never stops to ask “Why Me?” Instead she says, “How can we help others like me?” Since the diagnosis of her lung disease, she has wanted to walk in the Great Strides Walk for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. Last year, was her first walk and she raised about $3,500.

We were at the park where the walk took place when two Fire Department vans pulled up and out came 15 firefighters dressed in full turnout gear ready to walk with her. These 15 guys and girls were members of my fire department, Ridge Volunteer Fire Department. Ariana broke down and cried, as did my wife. Those firefighters walked right along with Ariana. At the one-mile mark, Ariana started to get tired and her breathing became difficult. But that did not stop the firefighters. They told Ariana that they would finish the last two miles for her…and they did just that.

When this year’s walk came around the firefighters of Ridge came out again and walked along with Ariana. This year, Ariana made it through the first two miles and again the firefighters finished the last mile for her. The Ridge Fire Department along with the Holtsville Fire Department worked together to set up a ladder arch (complete with an American Flag) for all the walkers to walk under.

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