Ellie at the hospital with her mother, heading into treatmentOne of my most difficult days was the day I found out my precious seven-year-old granddaughter, Ellie, was diagnosed with cancer. My heart broke for her and my daughter as I knew they had a very difficult and frightening journey ahead of them.
Ellie was diagnosed with stage 3 Wilms kidney cancer just before Christmas and was taken into emergency surgery shortly after. They removed her kidney and the football-sized tumor and started her on chemotherapy and radiation soon after. The battle against this cancer had begun, and I was about to learn just how strong and courageous my granddaughter was.
While I could not battle the cancer for her, I dedicated myself to supporting Ellie and trying to bring joy into her daily life. Somedays, it was simply reading stories, playing dress up, or just cuddling on the couch to provide some comfort.
One day, I saw Ellie struggling emotionally with the loss of her hair due to her treatments. She asked me if I could find a picture of a bald fairy.
I contacted Barbara Wirth, a local artist Ellie had taken an art class from, and asked if she could draw a fairy. When Ellie received the drawing, she was so excited! It sparked an idea to create a story for her.
When I saw the impact this story had on Ellie, I decided it was a story of hope and courage that should be shared with other children fighting childhood cancer and those supporting them.
As an author, I understand the impact books can have. I wrote Ellie, the Brave, Bald Fairy to provide hope and inspiration and to encourage understanding to all the children, their families, and friends who are supporting them during this difficult time. (I’m excited to share that the book will be released on November 14, 2023! You can learn more or pre-order now.)
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and I encourage everyone to support research and cancer support organizations in any way possible. There are organizations such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand that help researchers and support organizations such as camps for children with cancer.
When Ellie, the Brave, Bald Fairy is released in November, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to pediatric cancer research.
Ellie overcame her cancer due to the strength she found in her faith and the extensive and ongoing research being conducted by doctors dedicated to winning the war on pediatric cancer. She also learned she is brave and strong. This fight will be ongoing until we can find a cure for all these amazing children with cancer.
Cancer is the number one cause of death by disease for children in America. Let’s work together to find cures for pediatric cancer and support these children and their families during this very difficult time in their lives. There are many ways to help. Donating to one of the many foundations, such as the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, or volunteering at a children’s cancer hospital or local camp for children battling cancer helps.
Together, we can make a difference.