Little Ava Tronnes doesn't have time for questions.
Why would she when there's a playground nearby and boundless six-year-old energy to burn?
In fact, watching Ava on a slide, a swing or a teeter-totter with her parents, she is pretty much the typical kid.
But the last year has been anything but normal for Ava and her Coquitlam family.
Only a few months ago, the soon-to-be Grade 1 student was attached to a kidney dialysis machine.
Her kidneys were 95-per-cent infected and she was getting ready for a transplant.
But Ava's journey from sickness to health is as remarkable as a summer's sunset.
Ava had been sick the entire month of December.
Her parents Janeen and Richard had brought their daughter to the doctor several times that month, only to be told she had a viral infection.
It was two days after Christmas, Dec. 27, and the Tronnes were making plans for the evening.
Ava had become noticeably lethargic around the holiday.
Rather than take her once again to the doctor, her parents decided to just go to Eagle Ridge Hospital.
Within a few hours, she was in a transfer ambulance on her way to BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver with a kidney infection.
Ava was in full renal failure.
During those moments, Janeen recalled just going into survival mode, for the family and her daughter.
"It was just a lot to take in at one time," she told The NOW.
"The only rule was we do what the nurses and doctors say."
It turned out Ava had contracted a strep infection, but instead of going into her throat like in most cases, the infection attacked her kidneys.
Ava would spend the next seven weeks in the hospital's renal ward on two forms of dialysis.
She was released on Valentine's Day, in hopes she might be able to recover without the machine.
But after a couple of weeks, Ava was back in the hospital and doctors were now considering a kidney transplant.
Over the next few months Ava would remain on dialysis, but amazingly, her kidneys slowly started to get better.
She managed to finish her kindergarten year, and in July was finally able to go off dialysis and return the equipment.
"She's doing really well right now," Janeen said. "Hopefully she'll continue to improve as much as her body will allow her."
Though she may not require dialysis, Ava will likely live the rest of her life with chronic kidney disease.
She takes medication every day, has a shot every two weeks, and sees the renal team at Children's once a month.
The disease has also changed just about every aspect of the family's life.
Ava has been forced to make major adjustments to her diet, and her mom admits the illness has made her daughter shy, especially around adults, likely from having so many grownups around during her treatment.
The whole time, Ava handled her ordeal better than most adults might in the same position.
Mom said Ava accepted her situation along with doctor's orders to take her medication or whatever is required to get better.
"I've been so proud to be her mother," Janeen said. "She's only six, but she knows what's going on."
The Nestor Elementary student also missed three months of school.
She was well aware she wasn't like the rest of her classmates, but by the end of the year Janeen said her daughter was "jabbering" like the rest of the kids, and is looking forward to a new school year without as much distraction.
While Ava handled her illness with courage, the family also credited Children's Hospital and the renal team.
Janeen said the team was there for the family at all hours of the night.
"The people have been absolutely amazing," she said, adding officials at Nestor were also extremely supportive and accommodating.
Janeen Tronnes first noticed the banner on the overpass leading to Rocky Point Park.
The banner was an ad for the Tri-Cities Kidney Walk.
She had originally called organizers to ask a few questions and get some details about the walk.
But organizers were curious how Janeen was involved with kidney disease, so she explained her daughter Ava's experience during the last six months.
A few weeks later the family was asked to attend an organizing meeting for the walk by the local chapter of the Kidney Foundation of Canada-British Columbia.
Normally, honourees for the annual walk are living donors, but when the group heard Ava's story, they chose the six year old.
"It was excellent," Janeen said of her daughter's nomination.
"It a really positive thing after a really crappy year."
While mom and dad are excited for the walk, Ava admits she's nervous.
"There's going to be lots of people," the usually shy girl told The NOW.
"It's like a parade with no floats." Along with the support and donations from family and well-wishers, Ava will be walking with her best friends and her parents by her side.
The family also plans on taking part in the walk next year, but as volunteers instead.
. The 2012 Tri-Cities Kidney Walk takes place on Sunday, Aug. 19, starting at Lafarge Lake. Registration opens at 9 a.m., while the 2.5-kilometre walk starts at 10 a.m. For more information, check out the Kidney Foundation of Canada's website at www.kidney.ca.
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