From the Nominator
Ava-Riley Miles’ life seemed pretty amazing in the spring of 2015. Just 10, the Miami native was living with her mom in New York and appearing in her second Broadway musical, “Doctor Zhivago.” Ava-Riley seemed poised for success. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, she began to suffer debilitating abdominal pain and nausea that made it hard to get out of bed, much less perform in eight shows a week. When the show closed in May, it was almost a relief. Doctors in New York hadn’t been able to help her; maybe it would be different back home in Miami. Instead, Ava-Riley faced three more years of suffering. She saw 10 different doctors, endured endless tests, and tried restrictive diets, but nothing helped.
But sometimes you have to see the right doctor. In 2018, Ava-Riley heard about Dr. Saps, a pediatric gastroenterologist and one of the world’s top experts in treating patients with chronic abdominal pain. He diagnosed her with irritable bowel syndrome, and prescribed medication and hypnotherapy. Within two months, Ava-Riley’s pain and nausea were gone.
Today, Ava-Riley is healthy. She is acting again, and she’s added songwriting to her repertoire of artistic talents. She’s also raising money for Dr. Saps' clinic—$11,000 so far—through special events and a fundraising page on UCARE, a peer-to-peer fundraising website at UHealth.
We wanted to capture Ava-Riley as what she is: a beautiful young woman, no longer burdened by illness and pain, and on her way up.
From the Judges
Lighting and composition were perfect. Nicely done.