Office of Student Life

The Survivor

At just 17 months old, Avalon Havan didn’t understand the words the doctors told her parents: “I’m sorry, she has cancer.” However, those words radically altered the course of her life and the lives of those around her. 

Avalon was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The next two and a half years brought intensive chemotherapy in various forms—intravenous, intrathecal, and oral—and she eventually achieved remission. In 2005, her family became part of BuckeyeThon as a Miracle Family. Witnessing hundreds of Ohio State students dance, sing, wear tutus and laugh for 24 hours straight, Avalon and her family were inspired by the selflessness of those who raised funds for children and families they had never met. Over the next 18 years, BuckeyeThon became more than an organization to Avalon—it became her extended family. Former general body members turned into "honorary siblings," and Avalon attended their marriages and got to meet their children.

Avalon’s winning fight against cancer did leave its mark, including persistent intracranial hypertension and an energy crisis. Despite these challenges, Avalon grew into an accomplished young woman with many goals, one of which stood out as she planned for her future: to enroll at Ohio State and become a member of BuckeyeThon, the organization that had rallied behind her.

“Cancer took much from me, but it also gave opportunities like BuckeyeThon to me,” Havan said.

Avalon’s older sisters Aurora and Ambrosia both joined BuckeyeThon when they enrolled at Ohio State. Ambrosia started her own team, Miracle Misfits, and this year, Avalon, now a proud Buckeye and BuckeyeThon General Body member, is the captain of that team and a constant presence at BuckeyeThon events on and off campus. She carries on the tradition started many years ago of providing hope and fighting for an end to pediatric cancer, and she is proud of her efforts and those of her friends and classmates.

“BuckeyeThon became a guiding light for me,” she said. “It prompted me to give back to this organization that gave me so much.”