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Tag: aol story: Ava’s spirit and courage story: Ava’s spirit and courage

“I met Ava and her Mom Chrisie at Jorja’s All Star Ascend Fun Run. Talk about amazing spirit and courage. Ava had neuroblastoma (the same form of cancer Ronan had), for which there is no cure. So while I had a great time at Barrett-Jackson, it is moments like meeting Ava and Chrisie that remind me just how important and precious life is. While I realize that not everyone can donate to a cause, the simple act of helping to raise awareness is so important. Please help me, Chrisie and Maya raise awareness about this disease. If you can donate to organizations like Maya’s “The Ronan Thompson Foundation”, St. Judes, Barrows Neurological Foundation etc. please do so. If you can help by passing the message along to others, please do so. Every little bit helps.”

– Bret

To read about Ava’s life please visit:




Sophia’s Story: An Inspiration Within

Sophia’s Story: An Inspiration Within

Dear Bret,

First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH for sending me to camp!! My mom was so excited to tell me she had met you and that you offered to send me to camp. I couldn’t believe it. I had just been diagnosed for six months when she met you, so it was very emotional for us. Thank you so much. I just got back a couple days ago. The day I got back I got to go to your concert in Elko, MN. You were so exciting to watch!!! And it was even more fun to meet you and I’m glad we got to talk for a few minutes. I felt pretty lucky for once! As you know diabetes is a big responsibility. You have to grow up pretty quick. I’m glad there is a camp for kids with diabetes. It’s the one time I don’t feel like I have diabetes. Nobody has to wait for me to count my carbs or check my sugar or give myself insulin. Because we are all doing it. I was suppose to rock climb at camp, but I broke my fingers right before camp in a motocross race crash. So I did the Wranglers and it was fun! Thanks for signing my cast. I am saving it now!

I was diagnosed when I was 12 years old. I was real sick after having the H1N1 flu virus. The doctors tell me that is what caused my diabetes. I am very active with dance, acting, singing, gymnastics & motocross. I also stay on the honor roll in school. So when I was sick, it was hard to even get up. We didn’t know what was wrong with me and I pretty much couldn’t do anything. The doctors couldn’t figure it out. I was so sick of going to doctors and getting different medicine and different diagnosis. I was just beat. Finally I ended up in the hospital after just being so sick I couldn’t take it anymore. After a few days they figured it out. I didn’t know if I was gonna die or what. I asked the doctor if I was gonna die, and he said no. Then I asked if I could still dance, and he said yes. I think we were in shock for a while. My mom didn’t sleep at all – she still never sleeps cause she has to check on me all night. It’s a lot of work. After a week or two I started feeling better. It wasn’t long before I was back in all my activities. I just have to be careful and take the time to take care of myself. It’s really hard to be a kid and have to manage a disease. But I am learning.

You have inspired me to give back as well. At camp you can learn how to be a counselor and I’m going to do just that! Since you offered to send me to camp again next year, I’m excited to keep going and one day be a camp counselor myself! My family raises money for a cure! I gave you one of the wrist bands they sell to raise money. Maybe in our lifetime we will find a cure!!!

Thank you so much Bret. You and the people you work with are great. My mom is also SO thankful to you and everyone who helps you make dreams come true!

Love, Health & Happiness to you and your family and team!

Sophia Johnson


Something To Believe In: Melissa’s Story

Something To Believe In: Melissa’s Story

A couple of years ago, I was in a car accident where the driver left me for dead. Even though I had a seat belt on, I flew into the windshield. I had to have my right ear and eyelid re-attached. I broke 3 ribs, dislocated my right shoulder, chipped 2 vertebrae and was bruised internally. I missed 3 months of work. I had to learn to walk again, use my right arm and just heal. The worst part of this is that I do not have any memory of what happened.

During this time Bret was my hero because of his song, “Something to Believe In”. The lyrics gave me the strength to believe that something good would come out of this besides the fact that I survived. To remind me that there is always someone looking out for me, I had angel wings tattooed on my shoulder, along with the Chinese symbol for “Believe”.

When I found out that Bret was playing in Green Bay, WI on March 29, I knew I had to go see him. I put together a before-and-after photo album with a letter telling him how much he inspired me. Bret’s personal security guard was kind enough to take my book and assured me that Bret would get it.

Next time I seen Bret live turned out to be August 14 at the Milwaukee State Fair. Janna and Rob were able to get me into the “meet and greet”. Even though our meeting was short, Bret remembered me, and I was able to present him with a custom-made necklace featuring a pair of angel wings, like my tattoo, so he would be reminded that somebody was looking out for him, too. He said he was really touched by my story and wanted to meet me.

I wanted him to have something special from me because he does so much for others. He really does make a difference in the world – and to me.

Thank you,