Medicaid Matters for Kids: Ella’s Story

We were honored to have Ella join us for Family Advocacy Day in 2022. Through this event, Ella and her family discussed her health journey, and why Medicaid Matters in her healthcare.

When Ella was two years old, she was diagnosed with a stage 4, high-risk neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a solid cancer of the nerve tissue of the sympathetic nervous system and stage 4 meant that Ella’s cancer had spread to other parts of her body.

“In June 2020, we discovered a lump on the side of Ella’s abdomen,” says Megan, Ella’s mother. “We went to another hospital, but she was misdiagnosed, and as a result had her right kidney removed along with the tumor in her abdomen.”

The misdiagnosis led the family to seek care at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“We uprooted our lives and moved to a place that specialized in her disease. It took an emotional toll on our family, especially since I had just given birth to our son three weeks prior to Ella’s diagnosis,” says Megan.

Ella started chemotherapy and, after her fifth round, they found that the cancer had progressed to her skull. 

“We enrolled in a trial that included difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) an ODC inhibitor, immunotherapy, and more chemo,” says Megan. After two rounds of this intense treatment, her condition began to improve. Ella remained in this trial for a year and received 12 rounds of radiation. She finished her last treatment in July 2022 and has no evidence of disease. 

Currently, Ella is four years old and is strong, active and by all accounts healthy.

"Having Medi-Cal - California's Medicaid health care program, has allowed Ella to receive the best care imaginable at no financial burden to our family and allowed us as parents to focus on the intricacies of her treatment. This was crucial as we approached big decisions in her treatment plan.”

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