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I Received Blood

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Ella's Story

Bay of Plenty

Ella was just two years old when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Now eight, Ella recently visited the Tauranga Donor Centre to say a big thank you to staff and blood donors.

Her mum Kim explains that when she told her daughter they were visiting the Blood Donor Centre, Ella initially panicked. As part of her treatment Ella needed surgery with intravenous injections and a blood transfusion, so she’s understandably not too fond of needles. But once she understood where she was going she was really curious about the place and hugely impressed that there were people donating blood to help others.

It all started on a family camping trip when Ella became unwell. The family came home early and took Ella to hospital, where she was quickly transferred to the Starship Children's Hospital Emergency Department.

Doctors told the family that Ella had a massive brain tumour in her cerebellum which was causing a build-up of fluid in her brain. The next day surgeons operated to remove a mass “the size of a tennis ball,” says Kim. “Five centimetres by six centimetres.”

“She came through the procedure better than could have been hoped. Her strong will was definitely a factor in her recovery and rehabilitation.” Having her caring big brother Luka to try and keep up with helped too. “Ella really has to work at things that others take for granted. She makes us so proud.”

Brave Ella says, “Every year I have to have an appointment. They put me to sleep and they look in my head to see if it's grown.” It’s a tense time for Ella’s parents, Kim and Scott, who wait for the MRI test results every year with bated breath.

The family sees the glass half full. “We feel very lucky to have both our children and have learnt to really appreciate all the little things in life.”

Ella, too, is full of gratitude. On her visit to the New Zealand Blood Service Tauranga Donor Centre Ella is asked what she thinks of blood donors. “They're really generous. They should be allowed 1000 biscuits for giving blood”.