Lee Vining Rallys for Baby Facing Brain Cancer; Here's How to Help

Wendilyn Grasseschi
Times Reporter

A fundraising effort is underway in Lee Vining for a young baby, Braxton Wayne Avery, who is fighting a rare form of brain cancer.

According to a friend of the family of the four and a half month old, Lana Hansen, Braxton is the son of Nadine and Tim Avery. Nadine is a former Lee Vining student and a member of the Moats family, who have lived in the Lee Vining area for three generations.

Following his diagnosis in December with a large brain tumor, Braxton underwent surgery, Hansen said.

The surgery was declared successful, but recent chemotherapy efforts to shrink the remainder of the tumor at St. Jude Research Children's Hospital, where Braxton now lives, was not as successful as the doctors had hoped and Braxton is scheduled for another surgery this week to remove the remainder of the tumor.

To help raise money to cover the immense costs of the medical care for Braxton, whose cancer is of an extremely rare form, Hansen and others locals, including the local CHP office and the Mono County Sheriff's Office, have started a fund-raising process, hoping to help defray the costs for the young family.

"I am best friends with his grandmother, Elizabeth Moats," Hansen said. "We are hearing he could be at St. Judes for the next year or more."

Along with a Go Fund Me page (see below), CHP Officer Jeremy Struve, based in the Bridgeport office of the CHP, took it upon himself to dedicate the annual CHP/Mono County Sheriff/Lee Vining Varsity Boys Team basketball game this Friday, March 16, to Braxton, hoping to raise some money for the Avery family.

"I don't know the family personally, but I have children of my own," he said. "That was enough for me."

"The Mono County Sheriff's Office tries to have a fundraising game every year that benefits Lee Vining High School or the Boosters," said Mono County Sheriff Ingrid Braun. "This year, CHP Officer Struve saw Braxton's flyer posted at Lee Vining High School and asked if the Sheriff's Office would be interested in playing a game against CHP to help Braxton's family. MCSO and CHP will be playing along with the LVHS varsity basketball team, which will be divided between CHP and MCSO."

The game begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Lee Vining High School gym. All are invited.

Braxton was born October 26. His grandparents are Shawn and Liz Moats, formerly of Lee Vining, and his great grandparents are Richard and Mary Moats, formerly of Mono City. The Avery family lives in Apple Valley, although they are now staying full time at St. Jude's as Braxton undergoes treatment.

Braxton was diagnosed with a large brain tumor on December 7, 2017 at six weeks of age, according to his family. Braxton underwent surgery on Dec. 9 at Kaiser Permanente in Hollywood to remove the tumor, according to a family blog. This surgery removed nearly 90 percent of the tumor with very few complications.

On Dec. 19, the family received the diagnoses that the tumor was malignant, and that Braxton has very rare form of cancer called Choroid Plexus Carcinoma, according to the blog.

On Dec. 23, the family received the news that Braxton was accepted to St. Jude's Children Hospital in Memphis for treatment. The family arrived at St. Jude's on January 3, 2018.

"Braxton has completed three cycles of chemotherapy at St. Jude's and on March 15, Braxton will undergo another brain surgery to remove the remainder of the tumor," his mother said in a blog posting.


* Attend the game in Lee Vining March 16; see more info above. There will also be a raffle with prizes.

* Checks can be made payable to Nadine Moats and mailed to P.O. Box 369, Lee Vining, Calif. 93541. Contact Lana Hansen for more information at 760-937-1188.

* Checks can be made payable to Nadine Moats and dropped off at the Bridgeport office of the CHP at 125 Main Street, Bridgeport. Contact the office at 760-932-7995 for more information.

* Braxton has a Go Fund Me page: https://www.gofundme.com/2qmuw3-help-support-baby-braxton