Ella Kearny, 8
Ella Kate Kearney was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma in September of 2011 at the age of 2. She had been experiencing limited neck mobility for few days but her doctors just had thought at the time that it was something she had strained. As her parents, we grew increasingly concerned and brought her to the Emergency Room at Cohen Children’s Medical Center on September 9, 2011. An MRI indicated that a tumor was compressing and wrapping around her spine and she was in surgery within an hour. Dr. Schneider explained the findings of the MRI and what the surgery that he was about to perform would entail. In an instant, our lives were forever changed. Our Elmo loving, little pig tail haired baby girl had cancer. The next weeks were a blur, Ella started chemotherapy right after she was healed from her surgery and then months later we moved to Boston so that she could receive Proton Radiation. Ella would be admitted to Med 4 at CCMC every two weeks for days at a time. Although, it is not a place where anyone “wants” to be, we could not imagine a more kind, caring and loving staff. Our nurses and doctors became an extension of our family. Their compassion for our daughter and for us as her parents truly helped us to get through the darkest time in our lives. Ella had to be admitted for chemo on Halloween and the child life staff had an entire Halloween party for the children- candy, crafts and games. Ella always was entertained- even if she was at the clinic waiting to be seen, a hospital volunteer or the Sunrise on Wheels volunteers were always ready to put a smile on her face. We were so grateful for this-it made a scary situation so much easier and more tolerable for a young child.
Ella finished her treatment in April 2012 and became a big sister the following month. She slowly began to recover from the months of chemotherapy and by that September she was able to start nursery school as was planned. We are grateful and fortunate that she was so young and really doesn’t remember all that she had to endure as a child with cancer. When we would see her on the playground, besides for her pixie short haircut you wouldn’t know that she had spent the past year in a hospital. Ella would still need to be closely monitored and scanned every three months. But she began to really thrive and grow.
Ella is now eight years old. She is in third grade and loves cheerleading, soccer, riding her scooter, bouncing on her trampoline and playing with her brothers and her friends. She has such a vivid imagination. She loves playing school and doctor. She is kind, thoughtful and empathetic and looks to help people anyway she can. Ella loves going to the beach, having movie nights and going on vacations. She is so active and has such a big personality- it amazes us as her parents to see her knowing how far she has come from that little bald cutie laying in our arms. She has very little memory from her treatment and does not really know all that she has overcome…in time we will explain how she became our hero and our greatest teacher. Having a child with cancer has totally changed our perspective on life. We have three children now and truly try every day to appreciate the little things in life that are so often taken for granted. We know that the trivial inconveniences of managing life, work and parenting are blessings of having a healthy child.