Little Ava’s grit inspires on Father’s Day
OLIVER Coppins said he would never forget his daughter's first smile at six weeks old during her chemotherapy. Mr Coppins has since used his "rollercoaster" experience to connect with other fathers.
Mr Coppins said his now one-year-old daughter Ava Coppins was in remission.
He said she had grown to become one cheeky, sassy and smart kid.
"She loves clapping and waving her hands about, she's got beautiful dimples just below her right eye when she smiles just like her mum," he said.
"She's developing and doing everything she's meant to be doing.
"It's so nice to see her with no tubes attached and just seeing her as she's meant to be from the start."
He said his first Father's Day was spent at the Royal Children's Hospital amid a flurry of flights to and from Melbourne for treatment.
"That was a time charged with emotion and this Father's Day will have similar emotions but for different reasons," he said.
"We're more grateful."
Mr Coppins said cancer charity Redkite supported him and his wife Holly Coppins through the difficult time by connecting them with parents experiencing similar challenges and by providing a support pack, which he said was a "beautiful gesture" containing items parents might need in hospital.
Along with attending fortnightly zoom meetings with other parents, Mr Coppins has recently joined Redkite's Dad's Connect Group.
"It's a lovely forum," he said.
"Dads tend to try to be emotionally strong for the family and be the one everyone can come to but that really drains the individual as well, so it's really good for the dads to get together and chat about their situation and new ways of doing things."
Mr Coppins said one special moment during his fatherhood was witnessing Ava recognise his deep voice and turn towards him whenever he walked into her hospital room.
He said it took a "massive team" of family, friends and support organisations to get a child "through treatment and out the other side".
To join Redkite's Connect Group for Dads visit redkite.org.au/connect
Originally published as Little Ava's grit inspires on Father's Day