Meet Baby Ava & Her Family - Part 1 - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Meet Baby Ava & Her Family - Part 1

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BALTIMORE, Md. - Baby Ava is a name we all know very well here on the Eastern Shore. Our hearts opened in concern and sympathy for this little girl, who was critically injured in a devastating car crash this past December in Ocean City.

This Tuesday, the Del Ricco family, welcomed WMDT into their home. George, Annmarie, 4-year-old Sage, and 2-year-old Ava no longer live in West Fenwick Island, Delaware. They relocated to a suburb of Baltimore to be closer to Ava's doctors.

"We're putting our life back together," explains Annmarie, "as normal as possible. We're just happy to be a family and to have Ava beside us." George agrees, "What she's been through, she's my little hero."

Ava's recovery is nothing short of a miracle. Her parents say doctors diagnosed her with severe brain damage, but it appears she's beating the odds. Just this week, the family has a huge breakthrough. Defying the dismal diagnosis, little Ava clearly seems to react to her parents voices, with not just baby talk but even a show of tremendous movement ability. "I think that when she does that, she's trying to get our attention," Annmarie says of the sounds Ava makes, with a smile, stroking Ava's hair. "She's come a long way. We just started hearing sounds like this from her yesterday. We were told we weren't sure if we would ever hear a sound. Not only that, if Ava would breathe on her own." George quickly adds "Let alone move!"

Last year, on December 16th, a car driven by 48-year-old Andre Kaczynski of Ocean Pines apparently plowed into the back of Annmarie's car on coastal highway, with little Ava in the back seat. First responders reportedly had to tear the car apart to get to the two trapped inside. George Del Ricco was in the Baltimore area on business when he got the call, "When they called me, they told me, I had to pull over twice to gather myself."

Emergency crews stabilized both Ava and Annmarie at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury before sending Ava on to Johns Hopkins Children Center in Baltimore for Emergency treatment. Among her injuries, Ava had severe head trauma, 2 broken legs, a dislocated shoulder and a ruptured spleen.

But after just 3 months of treatment and 4 brain surgeries, she's making huge strides. And now this coming week, little Ava starts intense physical therapy. A huge step for a little girl that many doctors thought may not make it past that first day in the hospital. Ava still eats through a tube in her stomach but her parents say she may soon be back on solids if therapy works out.

They are overjoyed. "Not going to look to what she was doing before," confesses George. "Just be happy, number 1, that she's with us. I mean after surgery, the doctor told me that she's not going to make it another 12 hours. So every night I hold her and just thank God I still get to hold my little Ava."

Businesses across Ocean City are now preparing for a huge fundraising weekend to benefit the Del Ricco family and little Ava.

Click here for information on the Del Ricco Benefit fund.

Click here for the Candles For Baby Ava facebook page that has the details on events this weekend.

Del Riccos Share Their Heartache - Part 2

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BALTIMORE, Md. - Little Ava is now 2 year old. Her family celebrated her birthday in May.

EXCLUSIVE: Baby Ava's Family Speaks For The First Time In A Three Part Series

Hear this incredible story from the family that is living through it

Del Riccos Share Details From The Crash - Part 3

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BALTIMORE, Md. - In the final part of our 3 part series on Baby Ava, the Del Ricco family shares with WMDT's Emily Lampa the details from that devastating day back in December, and how they 're preparing for the upcoming trial of the man believed responsible for the crash.

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