Aura’s Story: Pediatric Brain Tumor and Becoming a CoachArt Shining Star

 In Childhood Cancer, CoachArt Student Spotlight, Inspiration, Our Mission

Aura’s Story

Aura's Story: Pediatric Brain Tumor and Becoming a CoachArt Shining Star

CoachArt student Aura, 2018 CoachArt Children’s Benefit.

Photos by Julia Zave Photography

Meet Aura. Aura was born with a rare neurological disorder that caused brain cancer at a very young age. Aura and her mother, Asa, were one of the first families to enroll in CoachArt in the San Francisco Bay Area. The recipient of our 2018 CoachArt Children’s Benefit Shining Star Student Award, Aura has participated in over 50 CoachArt arts and athletics programs.

Aura’s Diagnosis

Sleeping a lot, Aura was dizzy. Her doctors thought she may have the flu? At age 4, Aura was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She was in pre-school. She remembers that the kids were understanding. They loved her, and they wanted to make sure everything was ok. She got tired very easily, and the other kids would knock into her really rough, not understanding that they had to be careful. When she went to kindergarten, Aura had 2 challenges. She was sick and being treated for the brain tumor. Also, as a KODA (Kid of a deaf adult), American Sign Language was her first language, and there weren’t very many of her same-age peers using sign language at school. She was overwhelmed and frustrated. Children who are diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness often feel isolated and left out of mainstream activities. Aura’s mother, Asa, remembers that after having her brain surgery, some of the kids were mean to Aura, and even threw rocks at her. She wasn’t comfortable and she didn’t feel equal.

Aura and CoachArt

After learning about CoachArt in 2011, Aura started doing arts and athletic lessons at CoachArt in 2012. Asa describes CoachArt as “A great place to feel safe, and comfortable, and just the same as everyone else. Problems at school, or hard situations, they help you. Lots of opportunities, and in other places it’s not. (It made Aura) feel the same as everybody else. No better or worse. Great place to learn, develop skills, self-esteem.”

Participating in CoachArt programs with other kids impacted by childhood chronic illness empowered Aura to feel like an equal with her peers, without any peer pressure.

Seven years later, Aura has participated in over 50 CoachArt arts and athletics programs including soccer, art, film, cooking, basketball, yoga, and ice skating. She has made lasting friendships with other children struggling with chronic health conditions, and she is known in the CoachArt community as compassionate, courageous, and an encourager of others!

Watch Aura’s Story


Making a Difference for Families Impacted by Childhood Chronic Illness

Since 2001, CoachArt has matched volunteer coaches with students for one-on-one or group lessons in arts and athletics. Dedicated to creating a transformative arts and athletics community for families impacted by childhood chronic illness, our vision is that one day every family impacted by chronic illness will be connected to a community of support and an opportunity to learn and grow together.

10 Local Resources for Parents of Kids with Chronic Illnesses in Los Angeles | CoachArtCoachArt offers free art and athletic lessons to chronically ill children and their siblings between the ages of 5-18 in Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, and San Diego. If your child has been diagnosed with a chronic condition, we invite you to fill out a student eligibility form or get in touch to learn if CoachArt is right for your child. 

Ways to Help

Do you have an artistic or athletic skill you would like to share with a child impacted by chronic illness? Become a CoachArt Volunteer.

Learn how you can get involved with CoachArt to help kids just like Aura. Visit

By choosing to donate to CoachArt, you are taking an active role in improving the quality of life for children with chronic illness. Your gift today is guaranteed to bring joy to a child’s life.

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