Ellis Malone 5K keeps family running

Published 12:01 am Monday, October 21, 2013

My family’s past 18 months have been filled with fear, happiness, anxiety, accomplishment, stress, planning, joy and education.

Eighteen months ago, my husband and I were blessed with Ellis Laine Malone, our second child. Our pregnancy was uneventful, and the labor and delivery were not complicated.

Then I heard the words from my doctor that I’ll never forget, “There seems to be some abnormalities with the baby.”

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Our hearts stopped as we waited to hear what that meant. We were informed that all of Ellis’s fingers and toes were webbed and she had craniofacial abnormalities. She was having trouble breathing, as her nasal airways were too tiny and “squished” to allow air to pass through.

Fear and anxiety immediately set in. Our pediatrician came to us immediately with a pre-diagnosis of Apert Syndrome.

No one in the hospital had seen an Apert baby before, but our pediatrician had remembered studying the syndrome in the past.

Instead of feeding and cuddling our new born baby, we had to prepare to send her directly to Jackson for a NICU stay. Genetic testing was needed to confirm that Ellis truly had Apert Syndrome.

With Ellis we experienced a LONG seven-week NICU stay in Jackson, four major surgeries, countless doctors’ appointments, therapy sessions, tests and studies — all while traveling between Jackson, Natchez and Dallas.

After accomplishing all of this, we realize that we are the lucky ones. We have family, friends and a community that supports us 100 percent. Without that support we would not have been so lucky to accomplish Ellis’s medical needs these past 18 months.

The Ellis Laine Malone Foundation has allowed us to keep Ellis on schedule with all of her surgeries and doctors’ appointments. We haven’t had to worry about whether or not we could afford to meet her medical needs, because the foundation has been there to support every financial requirement.

In the past 18 months the foundation has supported Ellis’ care to the tune of approximately $75,000. We clearly would not have been able to meet her needs without your help.

Ellis’ future is bright! We see her grow and develop day in and day out and though she is behind, she is thriving. Ellis is expected to have between eight and 10 additional surgeries throughout her developmental years, and the funds of the foundation have quickly dwindled down from this past year and a half.

We will continue to plan fundraisers to support the foundation and we hope you’ll all come out to participate. On Nov. 2, we will have the Second Annual Ellis Laine Malone 5k Fun Run on the Vidalia Riverfront.

The registration will remain open until 8:30 a.m. on race day. The cost to register is $35 per runner, and all ages are welcome. For more information, find us on Facebook at Ellis Laine Malone Foundation or 5k Run to Benefit Ellis Malone.

If you aren’t on Facebook, call 318-336-3635 for more information.

The old saying rings true for our family, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It has taken a village to raise Ellis, and we are truly blessed to have the support of our village.

Heather Malone is the proud mother of Ellis Laine Malone.