Help Ellie Get to Brown University!

Hey friends! I am asking for your help to send me to Brown University's Doctor as an Advocate pre-college program in Rhode Island. I’m asking you to help me beat the odds. For those of you who don't know me, I am a 17 year old from Orange County, CA; I am an advocate, writer, dreamer, and fighter. I also happen to fight a few incurable illnesses. When I first became sick, teachers, counselors, doctors, and friends told me I'd be lucky to even graduate high school, much less go to college. I missed months of school, struggled to get accommodations to make it possible for me learn, and I was encouraged time and time again, to take the easy road and give up the college prep track and AP courses. But I said no. And now, here I am. This isn't college but it is one huge step towards that goal next year.

During this program, I will be living on campus with other students in Brown University dorms for three weeks. I will be taking classes on campus, exploring the area, and making memories.

The course I will be taking is called "Being a Doctor As An Advocate." Many of you know the tumultuous journey my family and I have been on since I first fell ill at 13. We took a lot of wrong turns and missed a lot of opportunities to get a diagnosis and some real help. Because of this, this course holds an especially large place in my heart.

I don’t want anyone else to have go through what we did.

I believe wholeheartedly in the concept of doctor as advocate. In fact, I think it’s one of the most important facets of medicine and the only way to ensure patients get the help they need to live their lives as independently and free from suffering as possible.

One day, I hope to be not only a doctor but an advocate, and I hope to arm myself with as many tools as possible to instill this approach in others as well. I hope to be the doctor I needed when I first fell ill because no one should have to go through what I and so many others went through. This course will begin teaching me how to do that.

My parents have purchased a new lightweight wheelchair with a power assist so I can get around while I’m there, but we still need to raise funds to pay the tuition, room and board. This neccessary purchase also makes it harder to do this on our own. All money raised will be paid directly to Brown and if any extra funds happen to be raised, they will go towards airfaire, accomodations for my mom to come with me, and reimbursing the wheelchair expense. 

Between now and July 10, when I leave for the program, I will be doing everything in my power to be as well as possible to make this an amazing experience and to be able to take full advantage of the opportunity.

I’m nervous. I’m nervous about getting around campus on my own in my wheelchair, about living on my own, about the sheer amount of independence I will have. But I am also excited and determined and that is a powerful combination.

I have worked incredibly hard for this opportunity in just about every way possible, and I can't wait to take you along on this adventure with me.

Thank you for your help. Every gift helps. If you aren’t able to give, we understand, and sharing this campaign is just as important.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Donations (52)

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  • Steven Hunt
    • $250 
    • 6 yrs
  • Joan & Jack Wheeler
    • $1,024 
    • 6 yrs
  • Abigail Robison
    • $25 
    • 6 yrs
  • Keaton Maring
    • $25 
    • 6 yrs
  • Kandice Parker
    • $40 
    • 6 yrs
See all


Ellie Wheeler
Laguna Niguel, CA

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