New twist in Redmond girl's fight with leukemia

Avrey Walker's hope: Disabled HIV virus

Jan. 2013 story: Redmond girl fights leukemia for third time

REDMOND, Ore. - Nine-year-old Avrey Walker of Redmond has been battling leukemia for five years now. She and her family recently found out that she's relapsed once again, but they're about to try a brand new treatment that gives new hope to her many supporters.

In many ways, Avery is just your average fourth-grader. She likes hanging out with friends, going on trips and teaching her dog new tricks.

"I want to be a vet," Avrey said Friday. "I love animals, and I love my dog Lola."

Many people would not know it by looking at her today, but Avrey's been fighting a tough battle for most of her life.

"I missed last week, and my class has just been sending me notes, and they're like, 'Get well soon,'" said Avrey.

She was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2007. And now it's back.

"The first time it came back was devastating, the second time is even more so," said Avrey's mom, Christal. "But you know, you fight, and you fight hard. It's hard. It's really hard."

Avrey will undergo an experimental treatment in Philadelphia, where doctors will use a disabled HIV virus to attack her leukemia cells. Only four other children have tried it, and now they're in remission.

"We hope after these five years of chemo, we've gotten to this place where there is this new technology that's going to cure our little girl," said Avrey's dad, Aaron. "We're still here, and we're still fighting. That's our only option."

Pop star Justin Bieber even reached out to Avrey with a special video message a couple years ago. And the feeling is still mutual: When asked what Avrey thinks of Bieber, she replied, "I love him."

Since Avery's fight started, not only have celebrities been behind her, but the whole Redmond community.

"We live in a small town, and everyone rallies around you, and it makes you feel wealthy and it makes you feel great," Aaron said. "You look behind you, and you see everybody standing there, waiting to help you."

Because the experimental treatment is so new, Avrey's procedure will not be covered by the family's insurance.

A bingo night and silent auction will be held in Avrey's honor at Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. in Redmond on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. People can also donate to Avery and Aaron's bank account at Wells Fargo.

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