Micro Joy: it’s a real thing! We see those huge grins and often hear from our customers that their kids are happiest when they’re scooting. Whether it’s for birthdays, holidays, or to cheer you up on a bad day, we’ve learned that where there’s a Micro, there is joy to be found.
For one California family, Micro has been of particular solace. Meet Ellerie: scooter master, style maven, and total sweetheart. Ellerie also happens to have a rare form of childhood brain cancer.
Before her diagnosis, Ellerie could often be found riding her red Micro Mini Deluxe. In fact, Ellerie’s mom, Bianca, told us that they practically lived and breathed scootering any time they were home. “It encompassed so much of who she was/is'' she said. A spunky, happy, active girl with endless adventures ahead of her.
But, in early 2020, Ellerie’s mom noticed a shift: one that persisted and evolved over the following months. The early achiever who was walking by 11 months and knew all of her ABC’s and colors before age 2 was experiencing some out-of-the-ordinary behavior. Waves of tiredness, decreased appetite, headaches, and vomiting led Ellerie and Bianca to the emergency room in the middle of June. From there, Ellerie’s medical team ordered a CT scan of her brain and, as her mom says, “our whole world was changed.” They had found a tumor on her brain. “My dad had recently been diagnosed with brain cancer in November 2019 and passed away in February” Bianca said. “Everything hit way too close to home. Even more so, being a nurse who works with oncology patients.” She continued, “Ellerie is the light of our lives and it hurt deep. It left us feeling like we just entered a horrible dream.”
The big “C-word” led to a hospital admission and swift treatment. Ellerie’s brain tumor was causing so much pressure on her brain that a drain was immediately placed to help relieve the pressure, and surgery was scheduled for the following day to remove the large mass. Bianca recounts the days that followed, “We realized Ellerie couldn’t move her left side at all. The doctor told us she may have had a stroke but it was hard to determine from which procedure. Ellerie didn’t talk for weeks and didn’t walk for two months.”
From ripping around on her Micro in January, to physical and occupational therapy following her surgery in June, Ellerie’s world looked quite different. “She hated it. She cried. It was so hard.” Bianca said of her therapy sessions. “We decided we didn’t want to continue living in another facility and with the unknown of what her future held, we took her home.”
Surrounded by family who work in the medical field, Ellerie was discharged to recover at home. “The first two weeks we were carrying her from room to room.” Bianca told us. “We started with standing and play therapy. Before we knew it, she was walking. Only recently has she started RUNNING and SCOOTERING!”
Talk about overcoming challenges! While Ellerie’s recovery is not over, she sure knows how to find joy amidst the chaos. In fact, “she manifests it” her mom says. “She finds happiness in dancing. We spend a lot of time in the hospital, so I can always count on music to get her grooving and even getting the nurses going. She feeds off of other people’s laughter and joy. Her favorites include Macklemore and Justin Timberlake.” (our kind of girl!) Outside of the hospital, her main source of joy is her Micro scooter. “I’d like to think she feels free and that she is in control. Even at such a young age, she desires to make decisions and being on her scooter is solely upon her!”
When we discovered Ellerie’s story, we saw a portrait of “Superhero Ellerie'' and sure enough, it was her on her super steed - her Micro! We needed to know the story behind it. Bianca filled us in that it all started with a picture. “I snapped the photo of Ellerie looking badass in her chucks on her scooter... safe to say everyone loved the photo and later became her symbol-fight picture. She wasn’t going to let cancer win. She was going to get back up. She is our hero- and the artist took the photo to the next level by painting her as a superhero who will scooter again!”
Is it just us or can you feel the joy radiating too? And where there is joy, there is hope. Bianca notes that unfortunately, childhood cancer is not rare. For her, hope comes from her support system. For families going through similar trials, she says in addition to prayer, “Surround yourself with a good support system and reach out to fellow cancer parents. It’s such a welcoming community for such horrible circumstances. Being a cancer mom can feel very isolating, watching the rest of the world move on, it’s very easy to get into the dark spaces of your head. Children are resilient. Ellerie will fight because as her step dad said she doesn’t even know what it’s like to give up on life!”
For such a small girl, Ellerie has already accomplished so much and touched so many. If you don’t love her already, check out our rapid fire Q&A with Ellerie below!
To keep up with Ellerie’s progress, follow #EllerieStrong on Instagram.