Ella’s story about cancer is one of the most interesting stories that you will ever read. When she was three, this beautiful little one from Devils Lake was diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). ITP is a disorder that can lead to easy or excessive bleeding. It results from low levels of platelets, which are the cells that help our blood to clot. When platelets are low, one treatment option is an IVIG transfusion, which gives a person’s antibodies that they are not producing on their own. One risk that comes with an IVIG transfusion is that the platelets come from a donor. Many screens are in place to ensure that the person donating the platelets is healthy, but donations cannot be screened for all possible health issues. In April of 2018, when Ella was four, she developed a spot on the bottom of her foot and when examined, it was found to be melanoma. It would be extremely rare for a four-year-old child to develop melanoma on the bottom of her foot. Her doctor theorized that the donor of the platelets from more than a year prior unknowingly had melanoma and passed it on to Ella in the IVIG transfusion. This is a case of a child being given cancer!
Treatment for the melanoma began immediately and Ella was briefly in remission, but the cancer returned. At this point, it is in 80 percent of her stomach and has moved into her small intestine.
Aside from the pain that she experiences, she is doing relatively well. One obstacle is that she deals with short-term memory loss from the treatment.
Her family recently found out that they have been accepted into a trial at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. The plan is to spend one week of every month in Minneapolis for the next two to three years.
Ella, now six, is an exceptional child and continues to amaze and entertain anyone around. She has a way of drawing people in and leaving a mark. If you’ve met Ella, you will remember her from that day onward. With all that she’s faced, she is still extremely positive. She loves dinosaurs and is obsessed with the actor, Chris Pratt.
She has big plans for the future! When she grows up she wants to be a smoke jumper. This is a person who parachutes into wildfires to pull people out or fight the fire on the ground. You will always be our hero, Ella!