With the money we raise from Ava’s Kitchen Benefit, we created Breakaway Adventures with The Jessie Rees Foundation. Through Ava’s treatment, we were fortunate enough to take her on trips near and far in order to give her memories with her family in a stressful time. We believe that when she looks back on these times, we can replace bad memories with fun family memories. We wanted to be able to do this for other families who might not have the resources to do this for their family.
We focus on families who have a child battling cancer within California. Families get nominated through a nurse or associate working a the hospital they are getting treatment at. From there, we grant them a short trip to wherever they would like to go in CA up to three days.
In addition to Breakaway Adventures, we also do 25 days of love in December in which we gift families around the US $1000 each to use how they wish. In the past 3 years, we have grown this program and in 2019 we will have given 300 families $1000 between June and December. We also assist families financially throughout the year on a case by case basis.
Some families are not as lucky as us and all they have left after their child has gone to heaven is their memories. Our goal is to give families this gift because we know how invaluable this is during this tough journey.
My name is Ashley Khalipa and I am married to my amazing husband Jason and am the mother to two beautiful children, Ava and Kaden. No one ever believes their child will get cancer. You always tell yourself “it will never happen to me” and you flip the channel when you see commercials for St. Jude. Unless pediatric cancer has touched your family or friends, most people like to stay in this safe bubble. I completely understand this because it used to be me. Unfortunately, pediatric cancer is more common than we would like to believe and it touches every race, income and lifestyle.
Once Ava got diagnosed, my husband and I made it our mission to bring awareness to pediatric cancer and help other families going through this process.
Once Ava got sick, I realized how important nutrition is when battling cancer. I had always cooked healthy meals for my family so this wasn’t a difficult task for me, but there are so many families who have no idea what to cook once they get home from the hospital. I started Ava’s Kitchen as a simple Instagram with healthy recipes and now it has turned into so much more.
Soon after creating Ava’s Kitchen, I realized I wanted to create my own charity event that revolved around food. This is when I teamed up with Michael Mina (Mina Group) and we created the Ava’s Kitchen Benefit. It was a unique event that had four guest chefs showcasing a dish front and center of all the attendees. We wanted to keep it small to create an intimate experience that was unlike any benefit people had ever gone to. We feel we have created such a special event and work hard to continue making it even better each year.