My family was just like any other typical family until our world suddenly turned upside down. My daughter Ellie was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at 10 months old. She had her tumor completely removed, and we were told there was a 95 percent cure rate. Then at age four, she relapsed and we were told she was at high risk. This event completely blind-sighted and devastated us. Ellie completed six cycles of chemotherapy here in Minnesota, before we transferred her to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Here she had two more cycles of chemotherapy, 35 days of proton radiation, and six cycles of immunotherapy.
Currently, my husband and I hope to get Ellie into a new clinical trial at Sloan Kettering, where world-renowned doctors are knowledgeable about Neuroblastoma. The constant trips to New York have taken a toll on us, both physically and financially. We fly there about every three weeks. I don’t regret it for a second, because sweet Ellie is getting the absolute best possible care, and I would go to the ends of the Earth if it would help her.
Ellie has always been a very curious, independent, and compassionate little girl, and I’m happy to say none of that has changed since her relapse. Ellie misses her father and two-year-old brother Micah when she and I go to New York. Saying goodbye to them is probably the hardest part of it all for her. Whenever she’s back in Minnesota, we try our hardest to spend a lot of time together as a family, since she misses out on family events or milestones. Despite all Ellie has been through, she is really thriving, looks fantastic, healthy, and is always smiling. This summer, she will play T ball, soccer, and swimming, so she’s very active! It’s hard to believe she has cancer sometimes, because of the way she handles it. Ellie is ecstatic about starting kindergarten this fall. She is looking forward to her future.
Getting to Remission
With Neuroblastoma, doctors don’t really say “remission” because there is a 50 percent chance of reoccurrence. We’re hoping for clean scans the next time we go to New York, and if accepted to the trial, Ellie may have a better chance of remission.
Full of Gratitude
We’ve held several fundraisers for Ellie, including a benefit, a Zumba-thon, and T-shirt sales. We have been extremely blessed to have this much support for Ellie. None of these events would have been successful without the help of family, friends, and even complete strangers. We’ve made a lot of sacrifices and have remained positive and adaptable throughout Ellie’s journey. Her progress just wouldn’t be possible without the help of others, so we are extremely grateful. We plan to pay it forward whenever we have the opportunity to do so! Thank you for all the donations to date, and for whatever you can make a contribution.