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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital helps little girl from Colorado

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Ella Dreamer

Ella Dreamer

DENVER — FOX31 Denver is proud to partner with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Tickets go on sale Wednesday, August 21.

As we kick off our St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway, we want to introduce you to a Colorado girl who knows firsthand what St. Jude has to offer.

Ella Dreamer is from Rifle, Colorado. We caught up with the 9-year-old in downtown Denver recently.

A group of professional models, hair stylists and makeup artists volunteered their time to make Ella a model for a day. Her mom, JD Dreamer said, “This has Ella written all over it. Dress her up as a princess and put her in front of a camera, couldn’t ask for much more. This is not something she will experience as an adult, so it is very special that she gets to do this today.”

Ella has a rare form of cancer. Adrenocortical Carcinoma.

It affects just one in 3.3 million children. The average five-year survival rate for ACC is just 20-35 percent.

Ella was diagnosed when she was 6 years old. Her mother said, “We removed it laproscopically and it spilled inside her body and we left cancer cells on all the adjacent organs.”

That is when her family found St. Jude. They paid for them to travel to Memphis from their home in Rifle. They spent nine months there, where Ella went through chemotherapy and tried all sorts of different treatment therapies.

Ella said, “I think it is fun. I like the nurses and the people there and things they do to make you have fun.” He mom said, “It was a sense of calm the entire time we were there. The scariest days I had was leaving St. Jude and wondering how we were going to function without that unit taking care of us every day.”

Her family is extremely grateful to St. Jude for all it does. JD Dreamer said, “She’s already lived a year-and-a-half beyond life expectancy. It’s because they (St. Jude) never stop fighting, they never stop looking for a cure.”

Sarah Ford, who works in the St. Jude fundraising offices in Denver helped set up Ella’s photo shoot with model, Brittni Biren. Sarah said, “They love St. Jude because Ella is still around longer than anyone thought she’d be. She’s just an angel on earth, and we love their family and we love that they support St. Jude.”

The day brought tears to Brittni’s eyes. She said, “When I got to meet Ella she told me she wanted to be a model. Fortunately I have a lot of contacts that I could help her with that. When you see a kid sick, forced to champion through that, you want to do anything to help them have a fun time. She is just such a young kid, in the early stages of her life. She is going through things most of us just can’t imagine. For her to say this is the coolest thing she’s ever done is pretty cool.”

Ella knows the treatment options have run out, but she wants to continue taking part in research projects with St. Jude if it means helping other children.

She told her mom she would continue radiation treatments, even though it was making her extremely sick. Her mom said, “The doctor said we can cut it back to 30 days. Ella said no, she said ‘you agreed to 42 days because you’d thought it might work. If fighting through 42 days of radiation will save another child’s life, then that’s what we’re going to do.’”

Ella likes to play with her dog, ride horses, camp and draw. She says she is just a normal kid, posing as a model for a day. And a role model for all of us.

Follow this link for more information on the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway

History of St. Jude

Since opening 50 years ago, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has changed the way the world treats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. No family ever pays St. Jude for the care their child receives and, for every child treated here, thousands more have been saved worldwide through St. Jude discoveries. The hospital has played a pivotal role in pushing U.S. pediatric cancer survival rates from 20 to 80 percent overall, and is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted to children. It is also a leader in the research and treatment of blood disorders and infectious diseases in children. St. Jude was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, who believed that no child should die in the dawn of life.