Jayden’s Front Row Experience: Ringling Bros Circus
Meet Jayden Avilla: a quiet, lovable child with a smile so bright it lights up a room. Jayden is always happy, positive, and in good spirits. He inspires his family and others to be positive as well.
Jayden is a typical little boy and loves superheros, especially The Incredible Hulk. He and his two brothers and sister spend lots of time watching movies, reading together, and playing. Spending time with his family is his favorite thing to do. When he’s not in the hospital or going to doctors appointments, he enjoys going to school, learning to read, and playing with his friends and siblings.
Jayden has a contagious, positive attitude with everything he does and when something doesn’t come out as planned, he always says, “It’s okay.” When he gets upset (meaning very angry) his mom, Lulu, says he literally, “turns into to The Hulk!”
Jayden loves his family and God with all his soul. He has always been a very brave child and this challenging health situation has made him even stronger and very strong minded. He is always telling his parents that, “He is going to be ok, because God is with him.” He’s also a very humble child; always thinking about others before himself. Since he is a very strong believer, he has hopes that everyone will be healthy because he has faith in God. He prays every morning and night before bed.
Earlier this year, Jayden’s mom and dad noticed that he started acting different. He was becoming more and more quiet and complaining of headaches. He wasn’t interested in food and was vomiting a lot. Lulu took him to the doctor and a MRI was ordered. Lulu was very surprised thinking that this couldn’t be anything serious. She took Jayden to the follow up appointment and on 1/18/16, Jayden was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma. He had a two inch tumor in the middle of his brain. Two days later, the doctor did surgery to remove most of the tumor, but it was during that surgery the doctors discovered that the Cancer had spread to his spine. The doctors were able to remove the tumor in the brain, but had to leave part of of the tumor that involved his spine. Jayden had to go through chemotherapy and radiation in attempt to get rid of the remaining tumor.
Throughout all of the hospital visits and treatments, Jayden always kept his head held high and his belief in God strong. Jayden had just finished his radiation and chemo treatments in addition to his last bone marrow transplant a few weeks before his Front Row Experience and was determined to beat this disease.
Jayden’s mom completed the application process and shared with our team how much Jayden loves the circus and how he told her that it would be a dream of his to go to the circus with his whole family. Jayden had been wanting to go ever since he was diagnosed. His mom told our team that when Jayden found out what was wrong and that he needed surgery, all he wanted was to remember the day his family took him to see the circus and how exciting and fun it was. He wanted to feel happy and laugh with the clowns and see their cool magic tricks. Lulu shared with the FRF team that Jayden would love to go to the circus because he needs the distraction and quality time with his family. She shared that he was in need of a fun experience since it had been a long time due to his health challenges.
Jayden was beyond excited when he found out he was going to the circus with his family! He jumped right up off the couch and did a little dance! He and his siblings were constantly asking if TODAY was the day they were going to the circus.
Well, that day sure did come. Full of giggles and wide-eyed, Jayden quietly awaited his day to begin. Event Directors, Kellie and Rebecca, showed up with hugs and presents for all!
To satisfy his love for superheros, wrapped in brightly colored tissue paper was a super hero blanket, hat, books, and walkie talkies! What more could a little boy dream of?
As the paper went flying and laughter filled the room, Jayden was showered with gifts of games, his favorite snacks, and of course GUMMY BEARS!
His brothers and sister received some love too! Sunglasses for all!
After some chitchat, pictures, and a little bit of clean-up, it was time to get this show on the road!
The dazzling white limo pulled up to the Avilla’s home. Jayden, Lulu, Charlie (Jayden’s father), sister Amy and brothers Ely and Anthony all rushed out the front door excited and ready to go! As an extra surprise – waiting beside the limo with huge signs and balloons – was Jayden’s very own entourage! Front Row fans, donors, friends and family, all gathered to send Jayden and his family off to the circus with a bang!
After some big hugs, screams of delight, and some Front Row posing – the whole gang was off and ready for the Best Day Ever. \o/
First stop was lunch.
The limo arrived at Casa Bonita. Everyone’s mouths were watering for a delicious meal before the circus.
This place was quite the adventure. There was a pool in the middle of the restaurant with a HIGH DIVE show, a HUGE arcade, old fashioned photos AND a haunted house. Jayden’s face was priceless when he was given a full sack of coins to spend in the arcade. He enjoyed some fried ice-cream first!
Jayden and his siblings had a BLAST at the arcade. It was no surprise that the highlight was winning the most amount of tickets to turn them in for some fun prizes.
It was now time for the main event. THE CIRCUS!
Jayden could not contain his excitement. The family gave their tickets to the doorman and the first stop was the concession stand to buy souvenirs.
Jayden and his siblings each picked out something special that would remind them of their Front Row Experience at the circus. Jayden, of course, wanted the binoculars. He didn’t realize that he wouldn’t need them since he was sitting in the actual FRONT ROW!
With their loot in tow – our group made our way to our seats. The usher brought us down many flights of stairs until we ended up in the very first row. Some of the clowns were goofing around in the main circus ring and there were animals doing tricks entertaining the audience before the actual circus began. A clown even came up to Jayden to take a picture!
The circus was FANTASTIC! It was a space theme and the show was packed with animals, clowns, magic, and FUN! Jayden wore a smile ear to ear as the show unfolded.
First out was the lion and tiger trainer. He kept everyone on the edge of their seats while he coaxed the lions and tigers to perform jumps and poses! Then came the dogs, pigs, goats and more!
There were horses, motorcyclists, ice-skaters, fire throwers, tightrope walkers, and CLOWNS! Everyone was having a BLAST!
Jayden had the time of his life. Even though he was in the front row – he used his binoculars a lot of the time. \o/
Once the show ended, there was one more surprise up our sleeve. What better way to end the day other than to have ICE-CREAM for DINNER! The limo took everyone to a local favorite – Bonnie Brae’s Homemade Ice-Cream. The Avilla children were shocked and excited.
After filling up our bellies with ice cream, everyone hopped back in the limousine with permanent smiles. The day had been filled with excitement, surprises, and Jayden was pretty tired. Everyone chatted about their favorite parts of the day, and ‘thank-yous’ were shared by the entire Avilla family. Once back at the Avilla home, goodbye hugs were shared by all. This was the Best Day Ever!
Lulu called our team as this story was being written and on Oct. 25, 2016 called our team to let us know that Jayden is tumor free! He will now have an MRI every three to four months to ensure the Cancer has not come back.
I feel so lucky to have met you. You are a brave and inspiring little boy. You are so much fun and I am so glad that I got the chance to spend a day with you and your family seeing the Greatest Show On Earth: THE CIRCUS. I hope these memories last a lifetime and I want you to keep living a life where you live every single day in the ‘Front Row.’
You are such an incredible boy and I will forever cherish our time with you and your fabulous family! I will never forget the expression on your face when you received a bag of Gummy Bears as big as your head and your look of amazement while watching the lions and tigers with their trainer. You are part of an even bigger family now and our Front Row family will always be here for you. You are a blessing Jayden!