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For the love of Sienna

When Ava Da Silva learned that she was accepted as a National Finalist in the Miss Diamond Australia Pageant in the Mini Division, she was ecstatic. Miss Diamond Australia is a pageant that promotes diversity, community spirit, charity work and friendship. Ava knew when entering she had to choose a charity to potentially raise money for if she made it through and without a second thought, she chose Limbs 4 Life.

Not only had Limbs 4 Life sent Ava and her three siblings to The Special Children’s Christmas Party in honour of Sienna, her older sister who was born with congenital limb differences, but Limb 4 Kids has supported her family since Sienna was a small child.

Sienna was born without thumbs, a missing radial bone in one arm and ulnar in the other, shorter upper limbs, one elbow fused in flexion and a smaller shoulder. Aside from the obvious physical differences, Sienna also endures long standing battles with heart disease, scoliosis, autism, chronic anxiety disorder and several other conditions which Sienna is reluctant to have spoken about in public.

Sienna is now nine years old, and it has not been an easy road for her; having multiple hand reconstructions to try and get the best function out of her hands. Alongside Sienna over that six year journey has been little sister Ava. So, when entering Miss Diamond Australia and choosing a charity, Ava chose the only one she knew that had been there supporting her family for her entire life - Limbs 4 Life.

To date, Ava has raised awareness for amputees and those with congenital limb deficiency in many ways. She has appeared on 2GLF 88.7fm ‘Living Life with Lilly Radio Show’ in Sydney and Southern FM 88.3fm with Daniela Hererra and Clinton Jack in Melbourne. She has also appeared in her local newspaper, The Auburn Review, to share her story and fundraising efforts with the community.

Ava has also met with The Mayor of Cumberland Greg Cummings. She also met with Sydney-based LFL Sports Woman and Muay Thai Boxer Bonnie Gillespie who was born with a congenital hand difference and a strong role model for young women. Ava has visited the Auburn and Flemington Police Stations and Silverwater Fire and Rescue to speak to police and firefighters about community safety, Miss Diamond Australia and Limbs 4 Life.

But the highlight of her journey has been meeting Gordon Ramsay, famed celebrity chef in Bondi. She spoke with him about Miss Diamond Australia and Limbs 4 Life, and even gave him one of the famous Limbs 4 Life Ribbons. Many hugs later, Ava walked away very excited and overwhelmed that she had just met a celebrity and had given him a Limbs 4 Life ribbon.

Ava’s charity work has involved holding a Tea Party, Car and Motorbike Cruise, attending Cars under the Stars in Sydney, a Private Movie Screening as well as having an everyday hero fundraising page; all in aid of Limbs 4 Life.

In addition to supporting Limbs 4 Life, she proudly puts on her Miss Diamond Australia Sash and represents at the ‘One Love in Christ Homeless Dinner’ in Parramatta by frequently donating food and water purchased using her own Christmas gifts and pocket money. The most heartbreaking homeless dinner Ava attended as a volunteer, was one where she sat down with a man who had one arm. He expressed to Ava the hardships of living with a “disability” as he called it. Ava, a compassionate young child replied “your ability is stronger than your disability” and the gentleman broke down in tears and told Ava that was exactly what he needed to hear. This is a quote that Katherine Moffett, Ava’s mother, has been constantly saying to Sienna when she gives up too easily because things are hard, a line that has been etched into Ava’s mind.

Ava will be flying from Sydney to Brisbane to attend the National Finals for the Miss Diamond Australia Pageant in the hopes of being crowned in the Mini Division. Until then she will continue spreading awareness about Limbs 4 Life on social media, through her Facebook page, Ava’s Adventures, and Instagram account @avadasilva_mda2018. Most importantly she will submit weekly Diary of a Pageant videos on the Diamond Australia YouTube page, showcasing her fundraising and preparations for pageant.

Katherine has expressed that although it is Ava who is currently in the spotlight, Sienna is by her side every step of the way, attending all fundraisers and public events. This is a huge step for Sienna who suffers from severe anxiety due to past bullying and body image issues. Sienna is so proud of her little sister for standing up for kids like herself and trying to make a difference in the world.

Limbs 4 Life would like to thank Ava for all of her tireless efforts in raising awareness of limb difference in the wider community. But more importantly, we would like to recognise the beautiful relationship that these two generous and talented sisters share. Limbs 4 Life would like to acknowledge and thank Radim Spitzer of Life photos for the use of images in this article.

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