Little girl with brain cancer gets support and strength through postcards sent from all over the world. When the little Ellie Walton was just four months old, her mother noticed a weird lump on her daughter’s head, at the doctor she was diagnosed with a strange form of brain cancer.
At the age of three, Ellie has gone through 17 surgeries and five tumors removed. Sadly, most of her life has passed inside of a hospital, but, in the last few month, Ellie has become beloved by many in the world, she constantly gets postcards from around the world, people offering their support and lending their strength to this little warrior.
Ellie’s mother Sarah Walton told ABC News that she asked people to send Ellie postcards, just a few postcards here and there, but in a matter of time, they were dozens! Sarah also mentioned that everybody posts something on the card, and every card is a sweet feeling she feels within her heart.
How everything began
Everything started when Ellie’s grandparents sent a postcard to her and Ellie’s older sister Ava from Arizona.The sisters began asking for more postcards, so their mother turned to the Facebook page she used to update people on Ellie’s condition. Quickly, postcards from around the world flooded their mailbox, including 47 U.S. states and foreign countries, including Germany and South Korea. In just the last month, she’s received over 500 postcards. Ellie’s favorites are the ones with pictures of dolphins.
Ellie is diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, characterized by a fast-growing brain tumor. There is a 25 percent chance of a child surviving five years after initial diagnosis, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. Radiation and chemotherapy are often used to slow the growth of tumors that cannot be removed with surgery, however, doctors tend to lean towards chemotherapy in order to avoid exposing children to radiation.
Children may experience different symptoms depending on the size and location of the tumor. Tumors are basically clusters of abnormal cell growth, they are not easy to treat when they are in the brain due to the delicate tissue that is around it.
According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 65 percent of glioblastoma multiforme tumors occur in the cerebral region of the brain. These tumors can affect several areas, such as speech, movement, thought, and sensation. Another 20 percent of children have tumor growth occurring in their thalamus, hypothalamus, or diencephalon, which identifies sensations like temperature, pain, and touch. Roughly 15 percent have growth in the cerebellum and brainstem, which may affect coordination, balance, and motor function.
Most children are diagnosed when a child is nine or 10 years old and the tumors occur in both boys and girls at the same rate. Doctors say there is nothing a parent could have done or avoided doing to prevent the tumor from developing. Noticeable symptoms may occur over time and are important to watch out for if a tumor growth is suspected. Signs may develop slowly or suddenly, with the most common being headaches, lethargy, seizures, weakness, motor dysfunction, hormonal abnormalities, and changes in behavior or thought process. However symptoms don’t necessarily signify tumor growth; it’s recommended to follow up any suspicions with a doctor.
Last June 2015, Ellie’s tumor grew back once again, turning her condition terminal. Ellie is facing two different types of cancer that have weakened her immune system. After one year of treatments, the family has decided to make Ellie’s dream come true, plan a trip to Hawaii where Ellie can see real dolphins up close.
Source: Medical Daily