Strong Kids

Girl battling cancer finds comfort in unusual friend

Feb. 26, 2015


Since the beginning of the school year a stuffed monkey named Mavrie has sat in Avrie Sinesiou’s chair in her first grade classroom at Seneca Elementary. “Monkey in My Chair” is a national campaign to help cancer patients, like Avrie, stay connected to their classmates. Avrie hasn’t been able to meet her peers or teacher because she had a bone marrow transplant after a relapse with leukemia and her immune system isn’t strong enough yet.

When Avrie was 4 years old, her parents Kate and Adam Sinesiou noticed she developed a rash that looked like a series of small broken blood vessels all over her body. Her pediatrician Kristen Savage, M.D., at Irondequoit Pediatrics sent the family to UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital, where doctors identified the rash as petechiae, red or purple spots on the skin caused by a minor hemorrhage.

The real concern was that Avrie’s white blood cell count was 123,000, almost nine times the normal amount. Avrie was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and was admitted to 4-3600 to begin her first round of chemotherapy right away.