I am participating in the CHOC Walk in the Park, presented by the Disneyland Resort, Sunday, October 30, 2016.
Please join me in my efforts to raise needed funds to support the care, services, education and research that CHOC Children’s provides children in our community. CHOC relies on the support of the community to meet it's goal of providing every child with healthcare. With your support, no child will be turned away.
Ellie is my next door neighbor who I've known for the last four years and have had the pleasure of witnessing her strength, her growth, her courageousness, her triumphs and her hardships. Her beautiful little life has sent me on a journey to give back and help fundraise each year for CHOC. Here's her story:
Ellie was born addicted to methamphetamine & PCP. Her birthmother abandoned her at the hospital. She was born in Anaheim, California and immediately transferred to C.H.O.C (Children’s Hospital of Orange County). Ellie was unable to eat at birth and a feeding tube was immediately inserted. Along with the inability to eat, she also had significant problems with every major system in her body. Her parents, Steve & Miranda, were lucky enough to find out about Ellie when she was only a couple of weeks old. They jumped at the chance to adopt her and she became a part their growing family. She was able to go home with Steve & Miranda after two- months, when her tiny little body was free from the addiction and the poisons (drugs) that her birthmother infused her with during her pregancy.
Ellie’s struggles did not end with her bloodwork being free of the drugs that she was born addicted to. She’s had numerous hospitalizations since birth. She’s now a miraculous 10 years old and she’s gone through 39+ surgeries. All of these surgeries were performed, at no cost to her family, by CHOC hospital. These surgeries include major procedures for her heart, kidneys and mouth. Ellie was born deaf in one ear and has a 50% loss in the other. Ellie was also born without any bones in her neck to support her head. At birth, her spinal cord was the only connective tissue for her head to her body. She underwent a major surgery to have her spinal cord fused in order to support her head & neck. As a result of the surgery, she lost the ability to ever turn her neck again due to the spinal cord fusion. During surgery, the inability to turn her neck caused her airway to close to a point that she was near or at death for a few minutes until the quick thinking surgeons inserted an airway tube into her throat in order for her to breathe properly. After the fusion surgery, the next surgery was a tracheotomy to prevent any further restrictions and/or risks of her breathing again. There have been many more surgeries, infections and battles since then.
Ellie’s most recent surgery was nequired due to the pressure that was accumulating in her brain. The specialist determined that her head was too small for her brain to grow properly. The solution was to surgically install metal rods in her head. These rods had to be manually cranked by Ellie's mom & dad twice each day. This procedure was to enlarge Ellie’s skull to accommodate her naturally growing brain. Ellie's family, literally, had to witness her skull be split wider & wider to relieve the pressure and provide the room for her brain to grow. As you could imagine, it was heart-wrenching having to witness Ellie having to go through this tremendous agony.
BUT, Ellie is THE MOST AMAZING CHILD. She is the strongest little girl that you will ever meet. She chooses to look at her life as precious and she makes the most out of life each & every moment. Ellie always stays positive, even after enduring more pain & suffering than most of us. In fact, most of us would not even come close to 1 or 2 surgeries in a lifetime, let alone 39 or more. Ellie’s has survived all of this at the very young age of 10 years old. Even more impressive is that when Ellie is not going to school, doctors and hospitals, she spends much of her time raising money for her charities. like CHOC & Ronald McDonald House. She is just an inspiration of perserverance and kindness.
All of Ellie's 39+ surgeries have been done by CHOC hospital. CHOC has gone above & beyond anyone's imagination when caring for precious children like Ellie. They are, simply put, The Best! CHOC does so much to help these tiny kids get through the toughest times. CHOC has many kid friendly amenitites, they have a radio station that the kids can come down to get on the air. They make requests and play games. CHOC has numerous game activity rooms so that the kids can go to escape and color, paint, do puzzles. CHOC will bring WII's to children’s rooms so they can play games and watch movies while not having to leave bed. CHOC has a Disney sponsored show called "Talking with Crush" that the kids can go to and be interactive with the turtle Crush from Finding Nemo. All these things make these very difficult times & stays in the hospital that much better for the kids. Throughout the years Ellie has made many friends that run many of these programs.
As you all know, like everything else, these programs are expensive. This is the reason we are here today, trying with all our might to raise money for CHOC by entering the CHOC Walk, which is the largest in the nation. Please HELP US by donating anything you can to our CHOC Team called “TEAM ELLIE.” We are also selling TEAM ELLIE wristbands at local stores and events to help raise as much money as possible for CHOC. We are proud patients of CHOC and Ellie is a testimony to CHOCs generosity and fantastic work. Wear the wristbands proudly as you are now members of TEAM ELLIE, the wristbands also have Ellie's Instagram account on them so please feel free to follow her.
We want to thank you from the bottoms of our heart for your contributions and your prayers.
This is why it is so very important to help raise money each year for this Children's Hospital. Please join me in raising as much as possible in honor of Ellie and in support of CHOC for the miracules that they provide to families each and every day.