Tuscaloosa elementary school raises thousands for 1st grader fighting cancer

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — A first grade student at Rock Quarry Elementary school in Tuscaloosa is fighting cancer.

Seven-year-old Ava Kate Hollingsworth has not been to school this year because of her illness.

“It has been tough, but she is tougher. Because of her strength and the outpouring of love and support from our community we don’t have any complaints,” Hollingsworth said.

The first grader has to do physical therapy as part of her rehab. She has undergone months of chemotherapy and lost a kidney and also suffered a stroke. Doctors discovered a tumor four years ago, and because of that Ava Kate had to have brain surgery. Her mother Lisa Hollingsworth says her daughter’s condition is improving. She says the love and support has helped the family get through a tough time.

“Well it is very encouraging but it is also faith in the Lord. God has carried us through this journey and when we have needed something He has never let us down He is always there,” Lisa said.

Rock Quarry raised $7,000 for cancer research at Children’s of Alabama in Ava Kate’s name. Principal Laura Jockisch says she is proud of her students have rallied around Ava Kate during her time of need.

“Well part of our community here at Rock Quarry is caring for each other and loving each other and developing relationships. And I think this is a sad and horrific time for Ava Kate, but it has been an experience that has brought us altogether,” Jockisch.

Several times a month Ava Kate and her family travel to Birmingham for treatments. Her mom hoped her daughter will get well soon so she can return to class.

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