“Because of cancer, we will never again have the luxury of not living every single day of the rest of our lives with fear”- Aleshia, Ella’s Mother

On May 4th, 2009 a beautiful little girl made her first appearance into the world and her loving parents named her Ella. Over the years, Ella grew to love art, animals, Nascar, the University of Florida Gators, Florida Georgia Line and soccer. She loved being an active eight year old, but soon had severe discomfort in her arm and shoulder. In the middle of Ella’s soccer season, her parents thought she may have pulled a muscle, but over time, the pain seemed to worsen. Ella was taken to an orthopedist and was diagnosed with a hematoma, a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues. The doctors asked her parents to schedule a follow up appointment in one month. As Ella’s family returned home, they had a gut feeling that they should not wait and searched for a second opinion. The family asked for an MRI and after the results came back, they were sent to an oncologist. On January 5th, 2018, Ella was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, under her left scapula. At only eight years old, she was going to face a battle that no child should have to suffer through. Thankfully, Ella’s parents insisted on additional testing which potentially saved Ella’s life. If the family waited a month, they may have gotten worse news. Ella’s mother, Aleshia, explains, “Words cannot describe the feelings of doom, dread, and fear a parent feels when hearing those four horrible words "your child has cancer".”

Soon after Ella’s diagnosis, she had her first surgery to insert a port for chemotherapy. Ella endured 13 weeks of chemotherapy and then she had an additional surgery to remove a portion of her scapula, where the cancer was found. This surgery was followed by another 21 weeks of chemotherapy. Ella’s mother says, “I am most proud of Ella for never letting cancer get her down. She kept a smile on her face and her faith strong. She lost all of her hair, yet smiled. When she felt weak and tired, she smiled. She had to spend a lot of time at the hospital when she wanted to be home, yet she smiled. Even with her surgeries, she smiled. She is a true superhero.”

Ella recently celebrated her last round of chemotherapy and had her scans to see if the cancer was gone. Her family waited patiently for weeks to receive the best news right before Christmas! Ella is cancer free! Her next steps are having an MRI in four to six weeks as a precaution and then she will have scans every three months for a while. The family is praying that scans continue to remain clear and then Ella will have her last surgery to have her port removed. Even with the wonderful news, Aleshia still lives with fear. She writes, “Cancer has changed our lives in so many ways. We have had to struggle going from a two-income household to a one-income household. Cancer has kept Ella from doing so many things she loves like water parks, amusement parks, school, and sports. Because of cancer, we will never again have the luxury of not living every single day of the rest of our lives with fear.” It is common for families that have battled pediatric cancer to live with post-traumatic stress disorder. These families are thrusted into a world they did not ask for, but then are asked to grin and bear it for hopes that in the end their child will become cancer free. Thankfully, for families like Ella’s, they do not have to battle alone. Runway to Hope and other pediatric cancer foundations in the community create a network for families battling in hopes they have reassurance and support.

Ewing Sarcoma is a type of cancer that most often occurs in and around the bones. Ewing Sarcoma is mostly found in children and young adults. It often begins in the legs or bones of the pelvis or arms. About 70% of children with Ewing sarcoma are cured. Teens aged 15 to 19 have a lower survival rate, which is approximately 56%. These statistics are only that, statistics. Each of these amazing children, including Ella, are fighters and will continue to beat this disease one step at a time.

Ella Boo, as her friends and family call her, lives each day to the fullest! She loves playing with her golden retriever puppy named River and spending time with her family in North Carolina. Ella is truly a fun loving girl that enjoys making people laugh. Our team here at Runway to Hope can testify that Ella is very sarcastic and has a unique sense of humor. She also gives the best hugs! Ella was planning on walking in the Spring Fashion Soiree in 2018, but was not able to attend. Our team looks forward to her walking this year on May 18th, 2019 for the 9th Annual Spring Fashion Soiree with her beautiful smile and amazing confidence! To learn more about our upcoming event to see Ella shine onstage, please visit our event page for details!

Runway to Hope / 189 South Orange Avenue, Suite 1800 / Orlando, FL 32801 / 407.802.1544