Ava Garcia, 4, was diagnosed last August with cancer of the kidneys. Right next door to her at Texas Children's Hospital was three-year-old Penny Smith. Doctors told her family she had a skeletal muscle cancer in May 2014. The two girls became fast friends. They recovered from surgery together and then saw each other every week during their chemotherapy treatments.
"It was like a playdate. Even though she was getting chemo, she was getting poked, it was stressful. It was easy going (to the hospital) knowing she was having fun," said Cindy Sagan, Penny's mother.
"It just made her more comfortable. She wasn't scared because she looked like her," added Ava's mother, Christina Garcia, referring to when she lost her hair.
The two mothers had hoped to be celebrating their daughters' remission together, but Penny's health has gotten worse.
"Are we looking at months? No, you're looking at weeks left with her," Sagan recalled of the recent conversation with her doctor.
Now Penny's in hospice at her northside home, where Sagan cares for her.
While she's still here, the mothers wanted to share the girls' story because they believe others can learn from them about friendship.
"They are best friends through tragedy but they found each other and they're going to hold on to each other for as long as possible," said Sagan.
"Penny got to enjoy enjoy having a best friend. Ava got to enjoy that and Penny will forever be in our hearts and we will always remember her," Garcia said.
To follow the girls' journey on Facebook, click here:
Ava's Facebook page
Penny's Facebook page
The families also provided these links to their fundraising pages:
Ava has GoFundMe account
Penny has a GiveForward account