All Star: Ella
Ella’s family was always out-and-about, doing fun activities. The happy-go-lucky girl had just started daycare at age two, and loved bringing home arts and crafts to her mommy and daddy. But in July 2016, she was diagnosed with leukemia.
Her mom, Jen, describes the terrifying moment, “I remember not being able to breathe, and just thinking, ‘Is she going to die?’. I had to walk out of the room when they were telling us and screamed and cried in the parking lot."
They spent the first 30 days at the hospital. Jen had to quit her job, and her dad, Dustin, took a leave of absence to care for their daughter. A fundraiser and GoFundMe pages set up by their friends helped tremendously for a while. Then, Dustin was let go from his job. He was able to find new employment, but had to take a drastic pay cut. The finances became a struggle, including gas and bills. Pinky Swear was able to help with a gift card for gas and groceries, and to help make ends meet.
“It was so nice to be able to go to the grocery store without wondering if our card was going to get declined, and to afford what we needed,” said Jen.
When her parents learned Ella had Standard Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and more about her treatment, they became positive.
“We didn't really have any other choice but be strong for her. She was just 2 years old. After seeing a young toddler go through what she has to endure with a smile on her face, it puts everything into perspective.”
After being isolated for treatment, Ella is now in Pre-K and adjusting to making new friends. She still faces challenges due to her immune system and chemotherapy, and a common cold can turn to an emergency situation. She is looking forward to her first trip to Disney World this winter, and a hockey game when she’s 100%.
“Thing are getting a little bit back to normal,” explained Jen. “We always take one day at a time.”