Make-A-Wish and Ellie
Ellie, 7 years old from Birmingham
Seven-year-old Ellie from Shard End in Birmingham was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumour, a rare type of kidney cancer after repeatedly complaining of stomach ache. She had surgery to remove her left kidney along with the tumour, followed by eight months of chemotherapy at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. She lost her waist-length hair and felt unwell for a long time.
When it came to deciding what her wish would be, her love for animals was right at the heart – she has three fish, three rabbits and a cat – and showed them the soft toy giraffe that always accompanied her for treatment. When asked, she said her wish was “to feed the giraffes.”
Her wish became a magical reality when Make-A-Wish arranged for her to become an official zookeeper for the day at Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey.
Ellie got to climb up into the trees to be at eye level with the giraffes to feed them some leaves; she also got to feed lots of other animals and enjoyed laughing at the monkeys!
Just a few days after her wish, she rang the big bell at Birmingham Children’s Hospital to mark the end of her treatment! Ellie was given the all-clear last Summer and is now back at school full time and will have regular check-ups to ensure the cancer has not returned.
Ellie’s mum Sarah said: “Having a wish has given her a really lovely memory to look back on. We didn’t have to worry about anything for that weekend. It was just lovely for her to be herself – to be Ellie and not someone who’s going through chemo and everything else she’s been through. We didn’t even think about it while we were there. We were just a normal family. Ellie still speaks about her wish now – she hasn’t forgotten about it.”