Ella's Childhood Cancer Battle
My 15-year-old daughter, Gabriella (Ella) Cecilia has been diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma Cancer.
I've been hesitant to speak on this because it's been almost unfathomable to accept as reality. 'My 15 year-old daughter has been diagnosed with Cancer'. I have to repeat it to myself time and time again because it feels like an incredibly horrible nightmare that I struggle to wake from.
Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare and aggressive cancerous tumor that can grow in bones or soft Tissue. It usually affects children between the ages of 10 and 20. The cancer has appeared above her pelvis area as a soft tissue (extra-osseous) tumor. The doctors are in the beginning stages of determining the treatment and the severity so we can begin the process of the FIGHT! As someone close to my heart recently stated to me... "So this is the enemy." Yes, THIS, 'Ewing's Sarcoma', IS the enemy.
At a time when her focus should be spent learning to drive with the anticipation and excitement of getting her License, she must now learn to accept hospitals and doctors as her new reality. When she should be spending her free-time with friends and family, she will now be isolated with surgeons, nurses and pathologists. At an age when her attention should be on school and even boys, Ella's attention is now on the fear of surgery, losing her hair and the 'unknown'.
No child deserves this.
Ella has been active in volleyball and track and taking on new responsibility working her very first part-time job at a local pizza cafe. Unfortunately, this year's volleyball season was cut short for her because of the pain the tumor in her side causes. She will have to forgo her Freshman track season and is unable to work at the Cafe over this year's Holiday season. We will have to have her braces removed, which were put on only last month, because they will interfere with imaging scans. Her life has already been affected so much and this 'journey' (<--I hate that word) has only just begun.
Those who already know Ella have undoubtedly fallen in love with her quick wit, compassionate heart and strong-will. Not to mention those beautiful big blue eyes. The same eyes that captured my soul from the moment she was born and looked up at me. She is stubborn beyond measure, loves to argue with me and takes pride in the fact that she holds the power to make me crazy, but more importantly, she is my first-born, made me a father and is my first true love. She covers me when I fall asleep on the couch and strives to make laugh daily. She's also an incredibly loyal friend, her Brother's best friend and her Mom's buddy. All these things plus so many more are what makes her such in incredibly special young woman who is truly just beginning her life.
Those who have not yet had the pleasure of meeting my daughter should know that she's wanted to be an attorney since elementary school. Her and her friend Catherine have had plans since they were toddlers to tour Paris together the Summer after High School graduation before they begin College. She has incredible goals and the determination and moxie to achieve them all, plus reach the dreams she hasn't even imagined yet.
As a single father, I co-parent Ella and her brother Ethen with their Mother, Sarah. We've already spent the past three months battling Doctors, Pathologists and most recently insurance companies and hospitals. We truly are now faced with the 'new normal' and reality of this battle and have been made painfully aware that in order for Ella to survive and beat this, then travel to a Sarcoma Center which specifically treats children is a necessity. Unfortunately this will require travel outside of New Mexico for treatment which in turn, requires temporary re-location from NM.
In preparation, we've also become painfully aware that the daunting costs to come of out-of-pocket expenses, travel, hotel and meals will become astronomical and overwhelming for our family. While my employment has been extremely understanding and helpful in working with me to maintain employment, I will be going from full time to part time work and that pay cut means a hardship in keeping up with bills associated with maintaining my home in Ruidoso for myself, Ella and Ethen, and with just every day necessities that I never thought I would take for granted.
Also overwhelming, are the tears and fear. I cannot even begin to express the torment I feel...
-I wish I could take this battle for her.
-I ask God 'why' daily.
-We're sad, confused, angry... but I pray constantly.
I know we must fight because cancer does not always win! My daughter will have a future; an incredible one in which I cannot wait to be witness to.
We are asking for any amount of donation that you can contribute. I fought my pride in this request, but, I know help is needed and my own comfort level in asking for help is simply not important.
We need help so we can make this fight a success.
Also and equally as important, we ask for your prayers, positive thoughts and encouragement.
Thank you…Thank you with my entire heart and soul.
36 rounds of 5 Chemotherapy cycles
36 rounds of Radiation
16 rounds of 2 High-Dose Chemotherapy cycles
16+ blood/platelet transfusions
1000's of miles traveled to and from Denver, CO
Countless port accesses, blood draws, needles and scans
2 bone marrow biopsies
2 medical ports
1 stem cell/bone marrow transplant
1 amazingly strong 15 year old girl
^^Those are the numbers in the breakdown of the eleven months of treatment that has now come to an end.
*ELLA IS HOME. *TREATMENT IS OVER. *NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE.
Ella, Ethen and I are overwhelmed with a flood of emotions, the strongest being gratitude and love. We are grateful for your support, your concern and well-wishes. We are thankful for the tireless energy and numerous hours put into events, fundraisers and donations on our behalf. We are absolutely humbled by the genuine love and prayers. We are also now incredibly aware that God, Angels (in Heaven and on Earth) along with miracles TRULY do exist.
I wish I knew and could find better and more meaningful words to share with you; words that could better express the love in my soul and words that could tell the story that my tears hold and of the compassion felt in my heart.
We share in our celebration alongside with YOU.
While Ella's treatment was completed a month earlier than expected, her immune system is still brand new. She will need to get her infant immunizations again and will continue to be seen in Denver every 90 days for new scans as the chance of recurrence with Ewing's Sarcoma is dangerously high.
I'll be absent from social media at least until the new year. We need time to heal, without distraction, as a family and to count our blessings. I need to organize my emotions and thoughts. We need and should re-group to pick up the pieces and maintain our mental and emotional health; and cry... I think I really need to just CRY for as long and as hard as I can.
With nothing but an abundance of love, Ella, Ethen and myself thank you and are forever grateful. When you see me in and around town, PLEASE hug me. Please cry with me. Please celebrate with me.
Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! ;) We THANK YOU with every fiber of our souls. Thank you.
She taught me the meaning of true love sixteen short years ago today.
She is my hero. She is my daughter.
Today I celebrate Gabriella Cecilia.
Unfortunately, she spent her birthday in the hospital with an unexpected viral infection.
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In November 2016, this sweet girl, who is my friend’s daughter, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma Cancer. Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare and aggressive cancerous tumor that can grow in bones or soft tissue. It usually affects children between the ages of 10 and 20. Ella is 15, the same age as Lily.
Prior to Ella’s diagnosis, she was active in volleyball and track and was taking on a new responsibility working her very first, part-time job at a local pizza café. Since being diagnosed, she has been relocated to Colorado for treatment.
Her small town of Ruidoso has really come together and has held numerous fundraising events to help cover costs so her parents can travel back and forth from Ruidoso to CO to be with her. She has a younger brother, Ethan, who resides and attends school in Ruidoso. Therefore, her parents are on a two week rotation from NM to CO to ensure each child has the support and love they need from each of them.
All glory to God, on 8/28/2017, Ella “rang the bell” signifying that she is CANCER FREE! Such a joyous moment which Ella celebrated by being released from in-hospital isolation to a clean living facility, a mile away from the hospital. Because she has no immune system, she will continue to receive blood/platelet transfusions and will have to be seen by her doctors every few days, so she can’t come home to NM just yet.
As you can see, this young lady has endured so much over the last 10 months! Even after she returns to NM, she will not be able to attend high school this year, her sophomore year. Since December 2016, she has been plucked away and relocated 10 hours away from all her family and friends; and she even had to have her braces removed because they were interfering with imaging scans.
On October 11, 2017 Ella will celebrate her 16th birthday! Her SWEET SIXTEEN, which now means so much more to her, her loving parents and her baby brother. However, her celebration will take place in CO, once again, away from her extended family and friends.
A couple of weeks ago, her father David Lee asked for suggestions on how we could all help Ella celebrate this very special birthday! Of course my little brain starting spinning!! Quickly, I remembered a while awhile back, when my dear friend organized a very special birthday surprise for her friend’s 100th birthday and now, I’m definitely stealing that idea; but I’d like to add a little twist, of course!!
My request from all my family and friends is this: PLEASE purchase a birthday card for Ms. Ella, her mailing address is noted below! If you are financially able, PLEASE place a one or five dollar bill in the card and mail it to her. Her father has worked with facility and they have agreed to hold her mail until her birthday, which means you can start mailing cards TODAY!! Remember, her birthday is October 11th!! Together, we can make this a HUGE celebration, because let me tell you, she is SOOOO deserving!
Please address all cards to:
Tanners House at Brent’s Place
C/O Gabriella Glass
11980 East 16th Avenue
Aurora, CO 80010
Lastly, this post is PUBLIC, so PLEASE SHARE!!!
Thank you all in advance!! I know this is going to be an AMAZING birthday celebration for her! <3 <3 <3
-Norma Gonzalez, family friend