Lynne Drainville Goodwin is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Tracy Izzo Watters.
One day a little girl is placed in your arms.One day that little girl says her first word.One day she takes her first steps, and before you know it...One day she is off to kindergarten.Then, one day, life changes.Ella is a beautiful 6 year old. She sings and dances like it’s her job. She spends countless summer days playing at the beach, and school year afternoons with friends, family, or belting out her favorite songs like Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go.” She knows that she wants to be a singer or a princess, (or maybe even both), one day when she grows up. Ella has won the praise and acknowledgement of her teachers for being a conscientious and courteous student and an amazing friend and classmate. On Monday, February 12, 2018, Ella stayed home from school with a rash her mom, Tracy, believed to be Fifths Disease. While on the way to the pediatrician’s office for a quick check to be sure, Ella’s dad, Mike, noticed a strange lump on her lower left back. Because Ella and Tracy had attended a roller skating party 3 days prior to this visit, the pediatrician diagnosed the non-painful lump as a muscle spasm, along with her confirmation that Ella had Fifths Disease. When the lump did not change two days later, Tracy contacted the pediatrician, asking for further exploration of its cause. The pediatrician agreed, and Tracy set an appointment for an ultrasound at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, RI for 4pm on Friday, February 16. By 4:15pm on the day of the ultrasound, Tracy, Mike, and Ella were being ushered to the Emergency Room at Hasbro for further testing on what the doctors determined was a soft tissue lump. From there...that day, and the ones that immediately followed... everything became a blur. Encouraging test results came back one by one, giving the family hope, until the MRI displayed every family’s worst fear; Ella has Ewing’s Sarcoma. Through this process, a family learns a lot. They learn to take their train that until now, had encountered the same bumps and turbulence most families experience, and switch it to a track of uncertainty. A track that is often plagued with long waits and dark tunnels, much like a roller coaster at Disney World, Ella’s favorite place to visit. Parents learn to say, “My daughter has cancer,” and only cry on those days when they wonder why, and they tell people how they’ve learned that Childhood Cancer Research is devastatingly underfunded. They learn how to tell their daughter that she will lose her hair, and that she won’t be able to regularly attend school where all of her friends continue their routine. They learn how to research and explain medical procedures, while fielding questions and giving care to their child. Family members and friends learn to ask, “What can I do,” or “What do you need” before even saying “Hello.”Most importantly, a 6 year old girl learns that even though she doesn’t feel sick, there is a thing in her body called a tumor that the doctors removed...mostly...but that some sneaky cells hung around to try to make more mischief. She learns where her chemo port is, and that the awesome nurses and doctors at Hasbro treat her with gentle kindness even when performing physically difficult procedures. Ella learned that these cells she has need chemotherapy to go away for good. And that’s what they will do. They will go away for good, because no singing princess will stand for a devious disease blocking her way.Parents learn that, even with healthcare, there’s unpaid leave from work and travel expenses that add up. The doctors at Sloan Kettering in New York City are specialists in Ewing’s, and they have agreed to see Ella and help treat her. This will mean regular trips from Rhode Island to New York. Even with donated sick days, Tracy does not have enough sick time to get her through the eight plus months of chemo Ella will need to kick Ewing’s Sarcoma to the curb. Even after the chemo, there will be months of radiation, blood work, scans, and doctor’s visits to make sure our singing princess Ella remains on the road to recovery.Tracy, Ella, and Mike have a long way to go before their train can switch back to a more well-lit, less tumultuous track. Until then, they need our help so finances do not add extra bumps and worries to their already burdened travels. Because...One day, Ella and her family will celebrate new milestones.One day will be the last chemo treatment.One day will be the first of countless clear scans and tests.One day we will all join Ella and her family in celebrating a cure for everyone.Ella, Tracy, and Mike are forever grateful for the kindness of friends, family, and especially those who give without ever having met Ella. She promises to send you an autographed picture when she becomes a famous, singing princess.