Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 7, 2014

Make-A-Wish Foundation sending Tazewell County girl to Disney World

TAZEWELL, Va. — Tears of joy filled the Tazewell County Administration Building Tuesday as one special little girl received a trip of a life time after fighting for her life for nine years.

Ellison “Ellie” Spencer, 9, of Bluefield, Va., the daughter of Jim and Becky Spencer received a trip to Disney World in Orlando from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Ellie was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome when she was only 3 months old and underwent the first of three open heart surgeries when she was only 6 months old.

Marfan Syndrome is a disorder that affects the body’s connective tissues that hold all of the body’s tissues, bones and muscles together, her father Jim Spencer explained.

“She has been through what no child should ever go through, Ellie has had three open heart surgeries, eight spine surgeries and a glaucoma surgery,” Spencer said.

Doctors did not expect Ellie to make it past the age of 2 years old after she was on life support for 43 days at John Hopkins, Spencer, who works as Tazewell County Administrator, said. The family was surprised with the honor by the  Make-A-Wish Foundation during Tuesday’s meeting of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors.

“She is an inspiration to not only me but the whole family and community. She doesn’t complain, she is so strong and it is only by the hand of God that she is here with us,” Spencer said.

Ellie who is fighting an aneurysm in her aorta right now doesn’t let anything get her down.

This is the first year she was able to attend a full day of school at Graham Intermediate, her mother Becky Spencer said.

“I refused to believe my daughter would die, Jim and I have a lot of faith in God and he knew it wasn’t time for her to go,” her mother said.

The family does not know who submitted their name to Make a Wish but they could not be more thrilled for the trip to Disney.

“I don’t think anyone out grows Disney World, I think I am just as excited as Ellie,” Becky said. “Make-A-Wish is sending all six family members on the trip and that is something that we would have never been able to do.”

Ellie said that she cannot wait to spend time with her dad and family all together.

“My dad works really hard and it’s going to be so nice to spend a couple days together with all my family together,” Ellie said.

Ellie is looking forward to seeing all the Disney Characters and riding the rides, she especially hopes she is able to be Elsa from the movie Frozen.

“I never knew something like this would happen to me, but I thought that some day I would get a surprise and I did,” Ellie said as tears filled her eyes. “I am trying to cry on the inside, but when I see my daddy cry, I cry. I am just so excited.”

The family would like to thank everyone who has been praying for Ellie and says they cannot even express how much it means to hear from people they don’t even know that people are praying for Ellie and their family.

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