The family and friends of Aja Devork are uniting to raise money to make modifications to her home allowing her dignity and self-sufficiency
Aja Devork, a brave, charming and talented young woman now 28 years old, was first diagnosed with bone cancer at the base of her spine in 2002 when she was 18 and a freshman at Berklee College of Music in Boston. While this is a cancer that often results in death, advances in chemotherapy and proton beam radiation saved Aja’s life. After a year of challenging treatment, Aja was cancer-free and returned to college as a music major, showing great promise as a composer and performer. However, complications from the radiation she received in her earlier treatments caused her serious health issues, forcing her to withdraw from school. In the summer of 2011, Aja once again began to get pains in her spine and right hip. The cancer had returned and spread. The only possible cure would be chemotherapy followed by radical surgery to remove 2/3 of her sacrum, and ½ of her right iliac. A portion of Aja’s spine and hip were removed and reconstructed with titanium rods and brackets, to hold her together. While Aja is now cancer free, the surgery left her with many disabling conditions she has to live with forever. The nerves going through Aja’s sacrum had to be severed on her right side so she cannot stand or walk without a walker, and is mostly wheelchair and bed bound. The hardware inside her pelvis restricts her movement considerably. The latest challenge, adapting to her new disabilities, has been terribly difficult on Aja. She lives in a 150 yr old home in New Hampshire that is not designed for people with handicaps. The doorways are too narrow for most wheelchairs and there are thresholds between the many small rooms. Aja is now confined to the first floor where she sleeps on a hospital bed and has a commode nearby since she can’t get in and out of the small bath on the first floor with her walker or wheelchair. After nearly a decade of medical nightmare, in and out of hospitals, enormous expense and unfathomable emotional toll, Aja now has urgent needs that require substantial funding. Aja desperately needs an accessible bathroom and handicap ramps. Aja has persevered through unbelievable hardship. She has twice survived a bone cancer that is fatal for many victims. We hope that through the generosity of others, we can help relieve the stress on the Devork family and help this talented young woman attain her personal goals by making her comfortable in her home and allowing her dignity and self-sufficiency.