Ava Jo is on the mend, thanks to Dr. Gehrke and her teddy bear, Dr. Gehrke!

On Dec. 16 of last year, Ava Jo’s mother, experienced what every parent fears; her little girl was severely injured when struck by a car as the child walked home from school. The accident occurred just a block from the Winterset Elementary School. The incident was so close to home that her mother could hear someone screaming, “Call 911”

“I just knew it was her,” she said, explaining that when she heard those words, she began to run down the hill and saw Ava’s bright turquoise coat.

“It was terrifying. I was so glad to hear the sirens of the police and rescue squads as they approached. They came in record time, I think.”

Suffering a broken leg and arm and a skull fracture, Ava Jo spent five days unconscious in ICU at DM Blank Children’s Hospital.

“It was really interesting the way she woke up talking about our dog, Bob, who previously had been run over and killed. She kept asking, ‘Where is Bob? Why isn’t he here?’ She also told us about seeing a bright light.”

When Ava Jo is asked about her memories, she says she saw a “ginormous bright light all around. And Bob the dog.” Like any child might, she questioned why Bob died and she didn’t.

“A lot of people prayed for me,” she said. “I loved Dr. Gehrke. His wife Laura was my ambulance EMT. My favorite stuffed animal was from them. He is a teddy bear wearing green scrubs. He used to have a cast and crutches like me, and band aids, and he even wore a mask.”