Meet Eleanor (Ella, EllaJo, Little Miss Sunshine)! She is a vibrant, adventurous, and silly eight year-old with a huge, sunny personality.
Born in February of 2012, Ella spent her first summer surprising us with unexpected fevers, multiple ear infections, and an increasingly heavy sleep schedule. On September 2nd, she stopped nursing and simply couldn’t stay awake. We rushed our little six-month-old to the ER where she was quickly diagnosed with High-Risk Infant Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Over the next few days, we watched helplessly as her tiny little body endured surgery, several scans, a bone marrow biopsy, multiple blood transfusions, and a host of chemotherapies.
Today, Ella is much like she was in the first few months of her life: she has a bright, sunny personality that lights up any room she’s in. The first month of her treatment, however, was as big and grey a cloud as there ever has been. While she was fighting for her life, she stopped sitting up, rolling over, cooing. She ignored her toys and showed no interest in moving and crawling. Her smile disappeared and stayed away. The day that it came back was amazing – we began to see what a courageous and determined fighter our daughter is, and we saw that Eleanor’s future would be a bright one.
When Eleanor was diagnosed, we spent a lot of time researching her cancer and learning how we could best help her fight. We were shocked to find that there was only one specific treatment that would help her. THIS was the push that we needed to start our own action.
We started this fund when she was a newborn, hoping to share Eleanor’s bright sunshine and her infectious love of life. Researchers and doctors are making significant advances in treating A.L.L. right now, but there is still much to do. Wishing to help other newborns and their families we started this fund in hopes that money raised through Ella’s Hero Fund will help develop new therapies to treat and target infant leukemia.
Little Miss Sunshine’s treatments were harsh on her tiny little body, but they had to be in order to save her life. Some of these life-saving medicines come with the potential for serious side effects. As we have watched Eleanor grow into this amazing kid today, we have begun to recognize how important it is for us to also focus on finding ways to lessen the side-effects from treatment and improve quality of life for these little ones.
A recent study shows that because of the treatments they had as kids, more than 95% of survivors will have a chronic health problem and 80% will have severe or life-threatening conditions.
Because of the treatments Ella had while her body and brain were starting to develop, she will face all kinds of life-long side effects, including life-threatening ones. She is having neurocognitive functioning problems associated with memory and executive functioning, attention, processing speed and learning retention resulting from her chemotherapies. Eleanor is considered high-risk for cardiomyopathy, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, osteoporosis, osteopenia, avascular necrosis, hemorrhagic cystitis, and secondary malignancies, including leukemias and melanomas.
So in addition to finding cures, we believe that research also needs to focus on preventing the lifelong damage to little bodies and brains that are just developing.
Today, Ella plays baseball, is in love with her gymnastics class and enjoys learning new music on her cello. She is always singing, dancing, whistling and sharing stories – it’s easy to pick her spunky voice out in a crowded room (it’s one of a kind full of life and love – just like her). She loves her big brother, she looks up to him, and enjoys playing and being super silly with him. Ella loves to paint & draw, she loves her books and her kitty cats. She is absorbing the world around her and embracing all things beautiful.
Ella's heart is huge!! Ella designed awesome Little Miss Sunshine socks and the money raised went to her St. Baldrick's hero fund and socks also went to kids in hospitals. She spent the winter collecting food for the local food shelter. She is currently growing her hair out to donate it! Her future plans include designing and sewing clothes for sick kids, and a spring fundraiser at her elementary school.
We are so lucky to still be able to bask in her light. After eight long years, we know that her medicines continue to work and are giving us more time with her. She is in remission. Please join our fight – Eleanor’s fight – to help children in their battle against cancer and the life-long side effects they will face. Fight Ella, fight!
About Me - Eleanor
Birthday- February 17th
Who do I live with? My parents, my big brother Benjamin, and my cute kitty cats Maggie and Sparkles.
Where do I live? I live in Fredonia, NY.
Favorite Colors – Red
Favorite Animal – Elephant (it starts with the letter E)
School – 2nd Grade!!!!
Favorite Food – Tomato soup & pizza
Favorite Book – Press Start & Mia Mayhem & The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal
Favorite Movie – Mary Poppins & Brave
Favorite TV Show – Teen Titans, GO!
What I want to be when I grow up – Nurse & Mermaid-Unicorn
Favorite Activities – Chorus, fishing & board games
Favorite Sports – Baseball & Gymnastics
Donations given to the Ella's Love Heals A.L.L. Fund go directly to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund lifesaving childhood cancer research around the world. The Foundation is guided by a Scientific Advisory Committee, comprised of leading experts in the childhood cancer community, to ensure that every dollar makes the greatest impact for kids with cancer.
These people make us smile - they’re the doers and money-raisers on behalf of Ella's Love Heals A.L.L. They’re shaving their heads, hosting events, starting fundraisers and more to make childhood cancer research possible.
Start your own St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event to raise money on behalf of our Hero Fund! You’ll be paired with a staff member who will walk you through every step of the process, and you’ll have fun knowing you’re doing a great thing for kids with cancer.
Register to shave your head and raise money for our Hero Fund at any St. Baldrick’s event happening around the world! Not finding an event near you? Register as a virtual shavee and shave your head anytime, anywhere.