Behind the Scenes – Ellery’s Fight Against Leukemia
Ellery with her brother, Reece.
From being care free and hanging out with friends...
Ellery and I
She has good days...
And not so good days...
Ellery with her family
Ellery hangs out at CHKD with a little girl from her hometown who is also being treated for the same type of Leukemia.
Eric Newman, of Roc Solid Foundation, sits with Ellery after giving her an iPad!
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!
I know that I’m a book blogger so to speak, but I decided to change things up a bit, and do a review of one of my favorite TV shows: The Lying Game. It is in its first season, and you can catch all of it on Hulu.com Disregard anything you’ve heard about this show and give it a chance. I promise that it’s worth it. It will keep you hooked and begging for Monday to come around again.
The Lying Game (ABC Family)
Sutton Mercer? The one that has it all, right? Well just a few days ago, none of this was mine, and it was something I couldn’t even dream of. A few days ago, I had a horrible foster mom, and a foster brother that was either trying to force his way into my pants, or getting back at me for saying “no.” Now, I’m living in an enormous house, I’m driving my own convertible, my old room could fit in my current closet, and best of all, I have the family to die for. Throughout the past few days, I’ve received more love from these three people than I’ve gotten from anyone else in my entire life. I even have the boy of my dreams, but this vacation comes with a price tag.
Well, actually, it has to be returned.
You see, I traded places with my newly discovered twin sister Sutton, so that she could go search for our birth mother. She thinks that she might be in Los Angeles, so I’m here in Phoenix pretending to be her and living out my dream life. I know that when Sutton gets back, all of this is going to disappear, and they’ll probably hate me for lying to them…but I can’t help being so happy.
The only thing is, our birth mother is pretty hard to find. Sutton’s father and his friend, the district attorney, are hiding something in regards to her disappearance, and they’re refusing to disclose even the simplest of information about her. Sutton’s dad is lying to his wife and his daughters, but for what? What dirty little secret means so much to the two of them that they’re blackmailing, and stalking, and lying just to keep it away from everyone?
We’re going to find out, and somewhere along the line, I have to say “Goodbye” to everything that I ever wanted and loved in my life and start over somewhere new.
Thirteen Reasons Why Jay Asher
I remember that look of pure happiness in her eyes… the way she erupted in completely rare laughter that filled my heart to the brim. I was falling for Hannah Baker and now I can fall no further. After that day, I never saw that same spark of joy in her eyes, and I never again heard that beautiful laugh; at no point in time will I hear it again. Hannah is dead. Gone forever.
I know that I could have done something to stop her. I could have stepped up and told her how I really felt. I could have told her about how someone cared! All the signs were there, but most of us never saw them and the ones that did, ignored them. If only I knew that she felt so alone and so empty. She needed me, and I wasn’t there. If I could be granted one last wish, I would go back in time, and this time, I would recognize the signs of a girl that has jumped off of the edge of insanity. I would take the pills out of her hand and hold her, tell her that I love her, and that everything would be alright. That’s all she needed. I’ll never be able to give that to her…
I received a package today. Within this package are seven tapes with thirteen stories. I have listened to part of the first tape, and right now, I know that…
A- Hannah’s suicide was NOT rash or impulsive. It was well thought out.
B- I am among a group of thirteen people who contributed to her suicide somehow…
C- I have no clue what I could have done, and it’s already eating me alive.
D- someone is watching me to make sure that I carry out her last requests to listen to these tapes from beginning to end, and send them on to the next person.
I heard about this book when my favorite librarian was doing a presentation project for college. She had to present a first person book talk to her the rest of her class, but she decided to practice with some of the students at our school first. This is also the first time that I heard of first person book talks, which became my favorite way to encourage others to read. She thoroughly sold the book to me with a few paragraphs.
That being said, this review is entirely my own. I told the story from a different perspective and I was inspired to write about different things than she was, however, she did not over-sell the book, so to speak. This has become one of my favorite books of all time. Why? Well, it makes the reader think. It induces tears of sadness, joy, and rage. The entire time that I was reading this book, it was impossible for me to put down. I had to know what Hannah had to say on every tape. I cried alongside Clay while he was listening to the tapes screaming at Hannah for leaving and not telling him about her problems and her feelings. It’s an amazing story, and I recommend this to everyone regardless of your typically favorite genres of books.
The Future of Us Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
I’ve never cared much about what my future had in store for me. Everyone else did, but I always lived in the moment. When I was in a relationship, that’s all it was- a simple relationship. I never spent time looking for that special someone who would put a ring on my finger and father my pre-named children in five years. Who knew that one CD-ROM could change my entire life…literally.
It was my friend Josh who had given me the CD-ROM. He had said it was from AOL and he knew that I had a new computer, so he thought that I would get some use out of it. When I inserted the disc into my computer, AOL popped up, but then I saw a link to a website called facebook.com. Being that computers are fairly new to the public at this point, there aren’t that many websites out there and I knew that Facebook wasn’t one of them. At first, I assumed that Josh created the website as a joke during his programming class at school, but then I realized that this wasn’t just a class prank. This was real. The future of my friends and I were displayed on the screen right in front of me.
Fifteen years in the future, I can see that I am unhappily married to someone I don’t know yet. I see that my best friend is still living with the results of a mistake that she will make in the present very soon. The only good thing about this future is that my friend Josh looks happy with his. He is married to Sydney- the girl that everyone at school would give an arm and a leg to even speak to, but I’m not so sure that I’m happy that Josh is going to be with her…or anyone else for that matter.
I have a debate going on in my head. I know that everything happens for a reason, so does that mean that this CD-ROM was sent to me on purpose so that I can change things, or is everything in the future meant to be the way it is written? If that’s the case, I’m not so sure I can live knowing that I never get to be happy when I’m older and not even try to change it. What consequences will there be? More so, do I care more about the consequences or trying to make myself happy?
The Future of Us is a great book about the idea of possibly changing an entire future and about how single actions can have huge ripple effects, not just in your life but in the lives of the people around you. It is extremely hard to put down because you feel compelled to find out what becomes of best friends Emma and Josh, and how knowing information about the future, changes the way that they view life and the way that they view each other.
It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.
By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.
Find out more about the author, Jay Asher on his blog and Carolyn Mackler on her website.
Also check out Jay's website for his debut novel, TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY
A book talk for TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY is coming soon...
At some point, I thought nothing would be worse than being hospitalized because my boyfriend beat me to within an inch of my life. My biggest fear at the time was accidentally falling back in his tracks and not making it out alive. Who knew that life could get more twisted than that?
I had always known that other than human species existed. I knew about the vampires, the wolfs, the faeries, and everything else, but I also thought that we only co-existed with each other. I only knew that we inhabited the same planet; I had no idea that there was anything deeper going on. Then I met Caislyn and Seth. Now, not only have I been notified that I am FAR from being human, but that I am part of some huge prophecy that most people want mine and Caislyn’s heads on a silver platter for. There are so many secrets and mysteries that we have to solve and we only have so much time. The Brotherhood has Cais’s parents and all we know is that their disappearances are somehow linked to us and that stupid prophecy that everyone is freaking out about. Now, we’re making deals with demons and doing things that are so much worse than an abusive lycan boyfriend.
I have to learn to control the powers that I will need to use to save my life someday while trying to figure out where exactly Caislyn’s parents are. On top of all that, stalker vamp Seth can’t stop staring at me, but worse? I can’t stop staring back. Oh Gods, what the Hell have I gotten myself into?
Birthrights is a surprisingly different and amazing take on the “other than human” ordeal. I completely recommend reading this story and traveling alongside Jaxon , Caislyn, and Seth on their journey to the ends of the Earth to save the people they love, and themselves. Join them as they uncover the secrets about their past and their future.
DESCRIPTION: Book One of the Awakening Trilogy
In the middle of the night Caislyn Vadoma auto-sketches a scene in which her parents are kidnapped from the family bookstore. She awakens in the morning to find that her sketch, a rare glimpse into the future, has already become reality.
Jasmine DeLaney leaves her life behind when an abusive boyfriend puts her in the hospital. She becomes Jaxon, an art consultant in a new town, always looking over her shoulder for the danger she knows will catch up to her eventually.
As Caislyn scrambles for clues to her parents' whereabouts, she casts a spell that leads her to Jaxon. From the moment they meet, the girls are immersed in a world of chaos and secrets. Finding out they are part of a very dangerous prophecy not only has them on the run, but discovering their own hidden pasts as well.
While trying to come to grips with who they are, how they fit into this prophecy, and where Caislyn's parents are the girls must also face the fact that the stalker vampire who appears to be helping them, may just be putting them in more danger.
*A note from the author of Birthrights, Christine M. Butler:
I just wanted to point out, for those of you who don't know, that Bella is my daughter. That being said, I chose to include her book talk for Birthrights when she gave it to me (after FINALLY reading my book) because she is also one of my harshest critics. Birthrights, along with the other books in the trilogy, are currently undergoing professional editing. This having been done after Bella smacked me upside the head with my own book and asked how I spelled a particular word... and then quickly pointed out that it was wrong in my book. Let me assure you, spell check does not catch everything! :) I appreciated Bella's opinion of the book, and with this note added in, thought it was appropriate to share with the rest of you.
Back of the Book:
In one horrifying night, Andy's life changed forever...
Andy Jackson was driving the car that crashed one night after a game, killing Robert Washington, his best friend and the captain of the Hazelwood High Tigers. It was late, and they'd been drinking, and now, months later, Andy can't stop blaming himself. As he turns away from family, friends, and even his girlfriend, he finds he's losing the most precious thing of all -- his ability to face the future.
I’ve replayed the accident over and over again so many times that sometimes, it’s like I can feel the blistering fire that engulfed our car, and I can almost see Robert’s fists pounding against the window as he screamed for someone to save him. I would have given anything in the world to be able to do just that. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that God had to punish one of us that night to teach us all a lesson, but why Rob? He wasn’t the one driving and he wasn’t the one that caused our tires to meet a giant wall, and yet it was him that flew through that dashboard, and him that we could not free. I should have died that night. Not Rob.
Robert is the one of our group that was headed somewhere! College scouts were everywhere at the football game that night just for him. His family cared about him, and not all of us can say that, especially Gerald. Man, Gerald has it real rough at home, and without Rob to talk to about all his problems, I don’t know what he’ll do.
My girlfriend has been getting kinda mad at me lately. I know that’s my fault too, because I just can’t be happy, even for her. I know I’m pushing her away, but I can’t stop; I don’t deserve to be happy! Not with Rob dead. At least I did one thing right. I finally mustered up enough courage to formally apologize to Rob’s parents, and they weren’t mad at me either! They should hate me! So should all of my friends and even my girlfriend! I do, and now that I’ve finally gotten that little bit of closure from his parents, I can finally set things right. Maybe I can’t bring Rob back, but I can do the next best thing.
Tears of a Tiger is an amazing book that kicks off an even more amazing series- The Hazelwood High Trilogy, which is about a group of teenagers and the struggles that they face daily, and how they manage to overcome them, or how they never will. These teenagers were all forced to become adults far before their time, and their stories are relatable to both other teenagers and adults. This series will invoke a wide range of emotions from the reader. The author does a great job to create enough suspense to keep you turning the pages nonstop to find out what is going to happen, and her details are so in depth that the sad, as well as the happy moments will definitely bring some tears to the table.
As a child, I didn't expect to know anybody for long. I was a foster child and I was tossed from one family to the next quite a bit. Until I met Mr. Fielding, I never considered anyone to be a part of my real family; he ended up being the closest thing I would ever have to a dad. He was also my friend. Mr. Fielding died a few weeks ago in the car accident that should have also killed me, however, there wasn't a single a scratch on me, and I felt no pain as the car going sixty miles per hour ran head on into a tree. The words that he whispered to me before he died, "you are invincible," made absolutely no sense to me at the time, but now they are permanently etched into my mind.
I'm not sure how it could have happened, but with the help of my friend Milo and my girlfriend Oh, I have discovered that I truly am invincible. Fire no longer burns my skin. Bullets no longer have the ability to penetrate my body. As if that isn't seemingly impossible enough, I can also transfer my invincibility to anyone in a time of need. All I need is a name and a fave, and with three words, I can both move my power as well as take it back.
My friends and I, we have tested the power. We have looked for weaknesses and found none. We have looked to see what we can and cannot do. With what seemed like zero limitations, we set out to save lives when we could.It went well for a while, until the time came that I had to start choosing who to save and who to let die, and my girlfriend began to change in a way that was far beyond anything Milo and I could comprehend. Now, I need answers, and I need them fast before Death catches up with us.
In the book, Thirteen Days to Midnight, author Patrick Carman hooks his readers right away with his uncanny ability to combine suspense, thrills, and a bit of romance. Go check it out! I completely believe that you too will be attached to the characters from the very first page.
BACK OF THE BOOK:You are indestructible. These are the words that transfer an astonishing power to Jacob Fielding... and it changes everything. After all, there's something addictive about testing the limits of fear, experiencing the thrill of walking through fire, or saving your friend from a beating in front of the whole school.
Then Ophelia James, the beautiful and daring new girl in town, suggests that they use the power to do good, to save others at risk of death. But with every heroic act, the power grows into the specter of a curse. How to decide who lives and who dies? And why does darkness seem to be chasing them? Jacob only has thirteen days to figure out how to harness this terrifying power... and the answer is chilling: What if he has to kill the one he loves to save her?
In the context of a dark, unconventional superhero story, Patrick Carman has envisioned a high concept tale of intrigue, romance, friendship and adventure that probes deep into what teens face as they enter young adult years: navigating increasingly complex choices with greater consequences, as well as the gray areas blurring the definitions of right and wrong.
My name is Matthew Shepard. Like any other young adult, I’ve gotten into my fair share of
trouble; I have been out partying and I’ve experimented with different substances, but I have never
been a violent person. None of my issues had ever stemmed from any hatred I felt towards anyone, but
the rest of the world isn’t like that. There is far too much animosity in society, and it finally reached me.
Because of others’ hatred, I am dead. I died in October of 1998 because I had been tied to a fence and
beaten with both fists and a gun until my brain stem was damaged and I couldn’t feel anything.
Thankfully, that included the pain. If you do not already know, October nights in Wyoming are freezing.
Needless to say, it did nothing to better my condition.
From where I stand now, I have been able to see the court hearings for the two men who
murdered me. I have seen Westboro Baptist Church make unwarranted visits to those hearings, as well
as to my funeral. I watched as they held up their signs “God Hates Fags,” and “Matthew is in Hell, Thank
God.” I can do nothing but watch from a distance and hope things get better, not just for my family who
had always been supportive of my sexuality, but for others who are experiencing hate crimes first hand
I was not killed because I had hurt anyone or had done anything wrong. I am no longer a part of
this world simply because I was gay. Thankfully, I can see that my death has impacted many people and
showed them the terrible atrocities that occur when hatred is held within.
“The Meaning of Matthew” is an enlightening story told by a mother grieving over the loss of
her son due to a very heinous attack on his sexuality. I encourage anyone to read this book, no matter
what your opinion on homosexuality is. It might just open your eyes to the world’s potential to be a
better place with tolerance, acceptance, and love of any kind.
I remember her eyes so clearly, the way they were so bright and full of life, unlike any
that I had ever seen. More than her eyes, however, I remember how she made me think. She
questioned all of the things that no one else dared to. I recall the way she was not afraid of me
like everyone else was. Clarisse Mclellan was the most audacious, intelligent young woman I
have ever met. Sadly, she is now missing. There are rumors flying around about what
happened to her, but that’s because that’s all anyone does around here. They gossip and talk
about what happens within the parlor walls each night. I used to have the same brainwashed
mind as everyone else, but Clarisse invoked a flame inside of me that even with my experience
with putting out fires, could not be extinguished.
My name is Guy Montag and I am a fireman. My job is simple. I wait at the fire station
with the rest of my squad for a call from a low-life informant telling us that they are suspicious
of someone housing books. We go to their house and we burn the books along with the house
in which they were hidden, after we remove the fireproof seal, of course. Of course, you know
this already. You know what a fireman does. What you may not know is that long ago, firemen
actually used to extinguish fires rather than start them; we were the heroes!
About a week ago, we got a call from a woman saying that her neighbor was hoarding
books somewhere upstairs. We arrived and when the woman would not come to the door, we
forced our way through, like we always do. We were to arrest her and burn her house as she
left, however, she would not leave. My partners started the fire anyways, but the elderly lady
refused and stayed there clutching the books close to her chest. She had the bravery that I had
never seen in anyone but Clarisse. I didn’t have that same bravery. I thought I had no choice
but to leave her there, and I watched outside as the ashes of her courageous soul fell to the
ground with her house and the novels that she protected until the end. It made me
think, “What is so special about those books? Why are so many people risking their lives to read
What I did that night was far from heroic; the only good thing that came of it was my
sudden change of heart, and the desire for answers that drove me past insanity. I must
discover what the true meanings of the words in books are all about.
In Fahrenheit 451, author Ray Bradbury casts you into a dystopian future where books
are illegal, the walls in the parlor room are your family, and attempted suicide rates are off the
charts, but no one that attempted it remembers it in the morning. The author makes you think
about our society as a whole today, especially with the growing disinterest in books and reading
in general. Overall, it was an amazing story, even for those who are not normally interested in
My book review is written in a first person perspective in which I took on the persona of
Guy Montag, the main character of the book. It is called a first person book talk which was first
introduced to me by my high school librarian early on in my sophomore year. I love the idea
and I think it does more to grab the reader’s attention than a simple description of the novel.
Fahrenheit 451 is an amazing book that you can find in the ‘classics’ section in almost anybookstore and I whole-heartedly recommend that everyone reads this book.