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news News Friday, September 6, 2019 Friday, September 6, 2019 12:21 PM - Friday, September 6, 2019 12:21 PM

Gilroy track star to represent Shriners Hospitals for Children at PGA TOUR event in Las Vegas, October 5-6

Gilroy track star to represent Shriners Hospitals for Children at PGA TOUR event in Las Vegas, October 5-6

Ella, 15, will have the experience of a lifetime when she represents Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, October 5 and 6.

Ella, a sophomore at Christopher High School in Gilroy, California, is one of 22 patient ambassadors throughout the country chosen to represent the Shriners Hospitals for Children health care system at the PGA tournament. Ella will serve as a standard bearer for the final rounds of play, carrying the scores of a group of professional golfers as they compete in the nationally televised tournament. It is a rare “inside the ropes” opportunity to participate in a PGA TOUR event, as well as the chance to share how the care provided by Shriners Hospitals for Children has positively impacted her life.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to represent Shriners Hospitals for Children at this national event and walk the course with some of the greatest golfers of our time,” said Ella. “I have been involved in sports for many years, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for those who are at the top of their field and earned the privilege of competing in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. I am extremely grateful for the care I have received at the Northern California Shriners Hospital in Sacramento. The chance to meet patients from other Shriners Hospitals and learning about their challenges and successes really means a lot to me,” Ella added.

Born with fibular hemimelia, a congenital birth disorder resulting in one leg being shorter than the other, Ella was just 4 months old when she made her first visit to the Shriners Hospital in Sacramento. Her parents consulted with many doctors near their home in San Jose, and they were encouraged to take their baby daughter to Shriners Hospitals for Children. Ella was 9 months old when she had her right foot amputated, and she took her first steps on a prosthesis designed by Shriners Hospitals for Children specialists.

Under the care of orthopaedic surgeon Joel Lerman, M.D., Ella has pursued her passion for sports. She plays wheelchair basketball and is on her high school track and field team. She competes in several track and field events including the javelin, shot put, discus, and 100- and 20-meter races. A high-school cheerleader, Ella is on the sidelines cheering for her classmates when she is not on the field competing herself.

Ella’s mother, Susan, said, “The Shriners Hospital staff have guided us through raising an active and adjusted child with a disability. They have supported us through the amputation, surgeries and many, many prosthetic appointments. They have treated the whole patient – not just the disability – putting her emotional and physical well-being as a top priority. The Shriners Hospital approach to treatment is the reason for our success.”

Ella will be featured in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open tournament program, and her story will be shared with the Golf Channel, which will televise the tournament nationally. The broadcast reaches over 700 million homes across 240 countries worldwide.

“The purpose of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is to not only bring PGA TOUR golf to Las Vegas, but more importantly, to bring awareness to the great work of Shriners Hospitals for Children,” said Patrick Lindsay, tournament director of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. “We thought that bringing more of the hospital’s patients to the tournament and giving them an opportunity to experience some of the best golfers in the world would be a great way to increase the involvement of the hospitals and the patients in this event.”

Ella and therapistElla running