By: Donovan M. Harris
“Dear Little Bear, there are no words in the English lexicon to describe just who “Little Bear” is. You bring your sunshine to everyone you meet, and we are better for it. I am better for it. You love and give yourself even when you have nothing to give.” These are the words penned by Autumn Murray’s mother, Ekuwa, who affectionately calls her daughter “Little Bear.” Autumn is a seventh-grade student at Ralph J. Bunche Middle School.
Autumn was selected to be a part of Bert’s Big Adventure. The nonprofit organization provides an all-expenses-paid, five-day journey to Walt Disney World® for children with chronic and terminal illnesses, along with their families. The organization was founded by Bert Weiss, radio host of “The Bert Show”.
At the age of 12, Autumn was diagnosed with stage III lymphoblastic lymphoma. According to the American Cancer Society, stage III lymphoblastic lymphoma is also known as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that starts in cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s immune system. When doctors first checked the lump in Autumn’s chest, they told her it was a natural growth. A month later, it became a bone infection. Two days later, doctors diagnosed her with the chronic disease.
At home resting after a chemotherapy treatment, Autumn and her mom were given the surprise of a lifetime. Greeted by a parade of Disney princesses, they opened the door and were soon told they had been selected to attend Bert’s Big Adventure’s annual trip to Walt Disney World.
During Bert’s send-off broadcast, Autumn’s mom, Ekuwa, was once again surprised. Employees of Audi Atlanta raised $14,000 to purchase a reliable car to assist Ekuwa with transporting Autumn to her doctor’s appointments. After returning from the Bert’s Big Adventure trip, Audi Atlanta surprised Ekuwa again by adding her to the Audi Atlanta team.
In response to all of these great surprises, Ekuwa states, “I don’t know how I can repay them all, but I will sure try with copious amounts of baked goods!”
Story Courtesy of: Author David Crawford and Bert’s Big Adventure Magical Moments Magazine 2016