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Pie Five hosts fundraiser

Pie Five Pizza Co is hosting a ‘Fight For Ellie’ fundraiser all day Saturday.
Three-year-old Ellie was diagnosed with a very rare disease called Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma, referred to as EHE on Ellie’s GoFundMe page, last year after complaining of constant headaches in June, Ellie’s uncle Austin Adkins said. She was originally diagnosed with swimmer’s ear but as the pain progressed to the rest of her body Ellie was seen by an Otolaryngologist or an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor. He noticed blood behind her eardrum and put her in for a CAT scan. The scan showed a large mass at the base of her skull and she was immediately checked into the Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center for further tests, according to the GoFundMe page. More tests showed multiple tumors all over her body, including the top and bottom of her femurs and several in her spine.
After the doctors decided it was EHE, they brought in several specialists from other states to guide the treatment since they had never treated it before, according to the GoFundMe page. The specialists started Ellie on a medicine called Sirolimus, which has been used to treat EHE and Bisphosphonate infusions to strengthen her bones. A CAT scan was done after 10 days of being on Sirolimus which estimated that the mass in her head had shrunk 10 percent, according to the page.
Ellie has gone through multiple biopsies, in which she had to travel to Houston, Texas where she met her now lead doctor at Texas Children’s Hospital. She is still being treated for EHE, although doctors are still unsure about her condition.
There is no known cure for EHE.
“The hope is that all the tumors are responding to the medicine since the pathology is the same. The strategy is to continue Ellie on her current treatment plan,” the GoFundMe page reads. “EHE seems to be lacking on the information side due to the rarity of the disease. However, there are a few other cases like Ellie’s in which Sirolimus seems to be working miracles. At this point there are very little knowns for Ellie. Ellie has a long road ahead of her, not only over the next year, but for the rest of her life.”
Ellie and her family live in Yukon. She has a twin sister who is very close with Ellie, Adkins said.
Adkins leads the Fight For Ellie and he said she has a strong personality and is a fighter.
“She’s just an inspiring person. She’s been through quite a bit with all of the procedures and rounds of aggressive chemo she’s been through, but she fights hard and she continues to fight every day no matter how bad it looks. It’s that fighter spirit that she has.”
Adkins said that Ellie did get to go home for about a month, but she’s been back in the hospital for approximately the last 45 days. He added that the weekend of Christmas, the doctors were unsure if they wanted to continue her chemotherapy because of the nature of the tumor, where it was located in her head and the pain she was in.
“They decided to continue and is actually getting better over the last couple of weeks. She’s really surprising us all with her fight spirit,” Adkins said.
The Fight For Ellie GoFundMe page has raised $29,112 of the $50,000 goal.
Fight For Ellie also has T-shirts and bracelets that are given out with donations to help spread the word.
Jason Hearne, general manager of Pie Five, came up with the idea of the fundraiser for Ellie after hearing her story.
“Since opening the new restaurant in December, the Yukon community has embraced us and made us feel very welcomed,” Hearne said. “As a company it has always been our goal to give back tto the community in any way we can. We are very honored to be a part of Ellie’s fight and we look forward to the day when she is cancer free.”
Owner Billy Bajema also thought the fundraiser was a great idea.
“Ellie, when you look at her and her family and what she’s gone through, it’s one of those things that she’s such a sweet girl and she’s fighting a really tough disease. She’s fighting and she’s got courage and they just need all the support they can get,” Bajema said. “Having a restaurant in town, that’s just a great opportunity to be a meeting place where we can raise money and people can come in and show their support and eating a pizza and knowing all profits will go to Ellie. And it’ll hopefully raise more awareness to bring in even more donations to support her fight.”
The fundraiser is all day—from open to close, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.—Saturday and 100 percent of the profits will be donated to Ellie and her family.
“We do fundraisers with a percentage of sales all the time because it’s a win-win. It brings customers in and they get some of the profit and we get some of the profit, but with her situation, there’s certain occasions where everything we make we want it to go to the cause. There’s just something about this girl and her fight. We don’t want to take any of it for ourselves, we want it all to go to the family,” Bajema said. “Hopefully we can just see the community rally around this family and provide as much support as possible.”
The fundraiser includes all profits for the day whether they be eat-in or take-out.
To find out more about Ellie or to donate to the GoFundMe, visit www.gofundme.com/fight-for-ellie or the Fight For Ellie Facebook page.

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