Ella Byrd McKeirnan | CaringBridge

Ella Byrd McKeirnan

First post: Apr 5, 2017 Latest post: Nov 19, 2018
In early April, 2017 Ella was diagnosed with a form of cancer called “metastatic Ewing’s sarcoma” after presenting with a consistent cough that did not improve with treatments.  Metastatic Ewing’s sarcoma usually occurs in the bones or soft tissue around the bones. It is a developmental pediatric tumor that is most common in 10 to 20 year olds.  It is rare, with only around 250 new cases every year in the United States.  Ella’s Ewing’s sarcoma is called “metastatic” as it had spread to other parts of her body.  When originally diagnosed, Ella had approximately  20 tumors in her lungs, 2 in her pelvis,  1 in her right upper arm and 1 in her big toe.  Ella received a combination of chemo, radiation and holistic therapy for her treatment.  Her chemo therapy started in mid April, 2017 and ended in February, 2018.  All her chemo treatments were administered to her in the hospital as an in-patient.   Ella started radiation therapy to her pelvis at the end of July, 2017.  At the end of chemo therapy in February 2018, Ella also received whole lung radiation and radiation to her metastatic sites.  In addition to her chemo and radiation treatments, Ella received multiple blood transfusions and multiple other hospital admissions due to complications from her treatments.

Ella was enrolled in a phase III clinical trial sponsored by Children’s Oncology Group (COG).  COG encompasses many other centers around the world including the likes of Spokane Children’s, Seattle Childrens, St. Jude’s, and John Hopkins, among many others.  Ella was very fortunate to be randomized into the control group that received the promising new drug.

Ella is being treated in Spokane by Dr. Ross Goshorn (Sacred Heart Pediatric Oncologist in Spokane) and Dr.  Stephen Thatcher (Cancer Care Northwest, Pediatric Radiation Oncologist).  Both doctors  are working with a network of other doctors at COG centers, particularly Seattle Childrens. Ella’s case was presented to the Seattle Children’s “tumor board” and that group was unanimous in their recommendations for her treatment protocol and that she participate in the Phase III clinical trial. 

At the time of diagnosis, Ella was 18 years old and was preparing to graduate from Gonzaga Prep High School in the spring of 2017.  Due to her diagnoses, Ella  received a deferred decision to her top 5 colleges as she was not able to attend school in the fall of 2017.  Ella has a brilliant mind and courageous heart and is handling this with a positive attitude.  She continues to be stronger then everyone around her.  Thanks again for all the love and support from family, friends and the Cataldo and Gonzaga Prep communities.  We have been humbled by the outreach. - Chere’ & Tom McKeirnan and Family
*****************************************************************  “Team Ella” Wrist Bands  ****************************************************************
If interested in wrist bands, please contact or text Ella’s cousin, Grace Cooper  (509) 828-0297  or friend, Eva Kennar (509) 491-2668.  Grace and Eva have graciously offered to mail them out if needed.   A $1 donation for the  wrist bands plus shipping is appreciated.  All proceeds go to  The Community Cancer Fund.

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