Hope, Strength, and Healing for families coping with a child cancer diagnosis

Meet Keaton’s Kiddo – Ellora

Keaton's Kiddo Ellora with parents in hospital.
Ellora is a new big sister to a baby girl, and loves cooking, Disney, and tea parties. Her parents describe her as bright, sweet, and strong-willed with a dash of sass!

Months before a clear diagnosis, Ellora was experiencing a loss of appetite, night sweats, and oversleeping. For Ellora, these symptoms were seen as normal for her or seen as natural changes in the growth of a 2-year-old. Eventually, she developed little spots on her hands and unexplained bruises on her body, which the doctors deemed Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), but after seeing an informative TikTok video on the symptoms Ellora was experiencing, her mom’s gut told her it was something more than a bleeding disorder.

On January 2, 2024, Ellora was admitted to the hospital and her parents were blindsided with her potential diagnosis when they realized their daughter was roomed on the oncology floor, and had no idea that would be their home for the next month. Later that day, Ellora received an official diagnosis of B-Cell Leukemia. Her parents and family were heartbroken to hear this news. With a newborn baby at home and a 2-year-old receiving cancer treatment for the next 2 years, Ellora’s parents had to quickly grasp their new reality.

Ellora’s parents have no doubt that her headstrong personality will get her through this awful diagnosis, but know there will be obstacles. Her typical sweet self transformed when her little body adjusted to her steroid medication, and that has been one of the biggest struggles. The steroids have caused her eating habits to change and her moods to shift, turning her into an unfamiliar child. In just a short time of treatment, Ellora’s mom has started to notice clumps of hair falling out through each brush stroke through her innocent daughter’s hair. While Ellora loves a nice and neat room, she has grown annoyed by the loose pieces of hair she finds, but hasn’t comprehended that it’s her hair that has been lost in the sheets of her bed. With all the changes, little sweet bits of Ellora fortunately still shine through at times. Her parents know the daughter they once knew is still there and will shine brightly once again in her next phase of treatment.

One of Keaton’s Family Navigators had the honor of visiting with Ellora and her parents at the hospital before they thankfully headed home as a family for the first time in about a month. It was such a joy bringing a Hope Chest of love to Ellora and seeing her excitement over a new pink tea party set! After hearing from Ellora’s mom and dad, they have so many obstacles that lie ahead. Keaton’s shared the news of a $250 grant for them to support the beginning of their journey. The family expressed their gratitude and shared that they’ve been ineligible for support from other organizations because of their annual income status, despite taking time off from work to focus on their child’s healing.

Keaton’s loves having the unique ability to customize support for each individual family knowing that a child’s care comes first, often resulting in a loss of income. As Ellora’s family settles into their new reality, a Keaton’s Family Navigator will continue to check in and offer additional resources as needed. Aside from financial support to help them with their 40-minute commute to the hospital and clinic, Ellora and her family look forward to all the joy Keaton’s has to offer. They await events like our upcoming Spring Family Fun Day and the magical experience of Disney on Ice and other opportunities!

Families like Ellora’s inspire us with their courage and grace. We are grateful to our childhood cancer families for opening their hearts to us and sharing their vulnerabilities, inspiring us in our walks alongside them through such challenging times.

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