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If you are a fan of Dora the Explorer, then you can’t help but fall in love with our latest little friend, five-year-old Eliana, who looks just like her! Apparently, her cousins agree with us and have started calling her Dora all the time. She ended up with the exact same haircut after donating her gorgeous locks to Wigs for Kids before she started her chemo regiment. We came to visit this little munchkin on a blustery afternoon in February. The goal was to give her room a Barbie makeover and spread some cheer, while she patiently recovers from her bone marrow transplant with the help of her sweet parents Jennifer and Gabriel. Eliana or Ellie as her parents likes to call her, was first diagnosed with Aplastic anemia back in January of 2015, when mom became concerned with unexplained bruising all over her little body.
Blood tests and a biopsy quickly confirmed that she had developed Aplastic anemia which happens when damage occurs to the bone marrow causing the slowing or shutting down of the body’s ability to make new blood cells. As a first round of treatment, Ellie underwent Immunotherapy and had some limited success for a time. In 2017, her condition worsened, and she became transfusion dependent. At which point, it became apparent that a bone marrow transplant was her best option. After undergoing IVF, the stars aligned, and Jennifer and Gabriel gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Luna, who proved to be a perfect bone marrow match for her sister. Late in December, Ellie’s tests began showing signs of pre-leukemia and the decision was made to go ahead with the transplant on February 11th.
When we dropped in on this angel, she greeted us with an ear to ear grin. She climbed out of bed and preceded to help us with every aspect of her room. We started the transformation, making her bed with a classic Barbie pink comforter and added a princess light by her bedside. Ellie decide that her sign looked best in the window. Once that was hung, she got busy helping us assemble her new table and chairs, so she could make room for her new Barbie toys. The convertible Barbie ambulance / care center with doctor Barbie and a patient was a huge hit. She was having a wonderful time exploring all the intricate pieces with her dad and letting her imagination run wild. We set up an art station on the other side of her bed complete with easel, markers, paints and more. We rounded out the room with a video, a scavenger hunt game and a gift card to amazon for the family to use at their discretion.
Lastly, we were able to bless both Ellie and her baby sister Luna with a special bag full of comfort items and a lovely handmade blanket from our friends at Blessed Bag. Thank you to everyone who has shown us ongoing support, as well as new friends who have come alongside of us, as we pursue this passion. We couldn’t do it without you! We hope you all will continue to consider donating to this special cause, so we can continue to lift the spirits of angelic young ladies like Eliana. We ask that you all keep this sweet girl, her baby sister Luna and the rest of her family in your thoughts and prayers during the remainder of her stay in the hospital, as we hope for persistent progress, and continued strength throughout the rest of her journey to a hopeful recovery. Thank You, Eliana!