Behind the Scenes – Ellery’s Fight Against Leukemia
I remember when Ellery and I became friends. She was hands down the most beautiful girl that I had ever met. Along with having the great looks, she was also extremely intelligent and had skipped a grade already. She was talented in both singing and painting, and her smile alone could light up an entire room. She was also an avid member of the PCHS swim team. Without a doubt, she had the most school spirit and she always stood up for what was right, even when no one else was standing with her. She has always been one of the strongest people that I’ve known. None of this has changed, however, her life as a whole has been changed forever.
On January 7, 2011, Ellery was diagnosed with Philadelphia Positive, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. For those of you that are not familiar with it, it is an extremely rare form of cancer that only affects an average of five kids in America every year. I remember getting the call from her brother Reece, who is also one of my best friends. It is a day I will never forget.
I had just finished eating breakfast when Reece called me. From the moment I picked up the phone, I knew something was wrong because of the way he spoke. I have heard him when he was upset before, but never like this. He asked me if I would like to go with him to the hospital to see Ellery. Of course, I’m thinking Elle was in a car accident or something, and I’m freaking out in my head. Although I was worried, I didn’t think that it could be anything long-term. I remember his hesitation when I asked what happened, before he told me, “Bella, she has Leukemia.”
That hit me like a wall of bricks. Ellery had cancer? I was immediately flooded with emotions, and all of the color left my face. I couldn’t believe it. The anger was probably the most obvious of all of my emotions. How could a girl so sweet and so amazing deserve to have cancer?! It wasn’t fair, and I wasn’t handling it well at all. Of course, I still wanted to see her so I quickly threw on some nicer clothes and ran out the door to meet Reece and his family, who only lived right across the street at the time.
I was so incredibly nervous, and I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what condition she was in, nor did I know what I would say to her. For those of you who don’t know me, it’s really hard to render me speechless, but I have to say that for the first time in my life, I was so surprised and angry that I didn’t know what to do with myself.
When I finally got to the hospital and I saw her, nothing had changed. Her radiant smile was still apparent on her ever so beautiful face, and I couldn’t help but smile. “Only Ellery…” I thought. Only Elle could still be so gorgeous and so high –spirited when she was diagnosed with cancer. I wheeled her into the game room at CHKD and we colored and played video games with some friends and family for a while. It was great, and aside from the IV that she was carrying around, nothing had changed.
Since then, Ellery has undergone several treatments, allergic reactions, a diabetic lifestyle, leaving school, and of course, losing her hair. She has been through pain that I will never comprehend, and she will always be my hero. No matter what she goes through, no many how many curveballs life throws at her, and the amount of things that she has to give up from her “normal” life, she comes out strong and smiling every time. Ellery used to be deathly afraid of needles- I mean little needles from shots at the doctor’s office. Now, they have to use needles with her almost every time that she goes into the hospital. She is in and out of the hospital so much, and her immune system is so low that she can’t do very much. She can’t leave the house and hang out with friends like she used to. She can’t actively go to school or participate in the school swim team, and yet, despite all of the things she can’t do, she manages to accomplish so much. She is proud in her own skin, bald and beautiful, and she is a role model to children and adults everywhere. She is full of strength, courage, and perseverance that is unmatched by anyone else.
Ellery, if you’re reading this, I love you ♥. You WILL beat this, and cancer will be so sorry it messed with you. I know you, and you won’t let this define you. This is a minor setback on your way to success, and you will not grow up to be that girl that had cancer. You’ll grow up to be that beautiful, strong, ambitious woman we always knew you would be: Ellery. You just keep doing what you’re doing, and we will always be there to support you, cancer or not.
If you would like to follow up on Ellery’s story, please check out her caringbridge site, where her and her parents post about her accomplishments and hardships, and you can leave her an uplifting comment or two. If you can, please donate to help fund her treatments and any possible surgeries here.
Even if you can’t donate, please share her donation site on facebook, twitter, or your own website. Every little thing counts, and rest assured that your time and money is going to a great cause.
Also, find out more about the Roc Solid Foundation and what they do to help kids with Cancer!