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“I would do anything to make her better. And if one extra thing would help, we decided we would go with it,” Joy explains. “We figured we would try it, and if we didn’t like it, we could always quit.” So they tried it, beginning in May 2011, and they plan to remain with the study through another year of treatment, with long-term follow-up into adulthood.
Ellie is currently cancer-free—overwhelmingly good news for her and the Pruitt family but also, perhaps, for other children and families in the future. “If the research helps other kids get through this quicker and easier,” Joy added, “we’re glad to be a part of it.”
Ellie says she didn’t want to take part in research at first, either. Actually, she didn’t want to do any of the treatment. Now she is glad that she did it and that she might have helped others. She would also tell other kids that “you have to do it, even if you don’t want to. Fighting back doesn’t help at all. So keep a smile on your face,” she says with an easy grin.
Ellie is all smiles now. This summer she and her family made up for last year when she was very ill and undergoing difficult treatment—last summer was a “stinky summer,” she and her mom agree. This year, Ellie attended Idaho’s Camp Rainbow Gold and the family went on a Make-a-Wish trip to Disney World. Ellie, who wants to be an actor, also played Pooh in a Twin Falls production of Winnie the Pooh. Best of all, she has a new puppy, a pug named Poppie.
Science is Ellie’s favorite subject in school, and she is a Star Trek fan. She recently joined other children to stamp her handprint on a construction wall in the pediatrics section of St. Luke’s MSTI. Written around her yellow handprint, with the fingers parted between the middle and ring finger, is the Vulcan salute that she often shares with others. Quoting the Star Ship Enterprise Science Officer, Mr. Spock, it reads what we wish for Ellie and all children facing cancer — “Live Long and Prosper!”
The most valuable thing we have is our health. And the most valuable thing St. Luke's can do is help you live as healthy a life as possible. We're taking care forward as we develop new ways—and refine the tried and true—to improve health, improve care, and lower costs.