Hillary Chybinski: Have you heard of Ella's Retreat?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Have you heard of Ella's Retreat?

This post originally ran as a guest post over at Finnegan and the Hughes as part of their Worthy Wednesday series.  I hope if you didn't catch it then, you'll take a minute to read it, and consider sending a donation to Ella's Retreat this year.

When Ryan was in Kindergarten, since it was all new to me, I made sure to meet the other parents.  One mom stuck out at me, as she was pregnant too (I was 8 months pregnant with Owen), so I thought we could commiserate about having a kindergartner and a baby.  So Audrey and I were friendly,  as the years went on.  I would see them at school events and such.  One day I heard her little girl, the very same one she was pregnant with while I was pregnant with Owen, had cancer.

At a school event, I heard another child ask her how come her little girl didn't have any hair.  Audrey ( a teacher besides an amazing mom), responded "oh, she has cancer, and the medicine makes her hair fall out.  But she's ok and her hair will all grow back."  I told Audrey how much I admired her candor, and she told me that she'd rather they ask and know the answer than whisper or be afraid.

I just can't imagine the fear and heartbreak that goes along with that.  Audrey and her husband, Joe are amazing people, and we consider ourselves lucky to call them friends.

Ella's treatment plan involved 43 weeks of chemotherapy and 6 weeks of proton beam radiation.  The proton radiation was administered at Boston's Mass General, and is where the inspiration for Ella's Retreat began.

Ella's Retreat is a non-profit organization in the Philadelphia area, that helps provide lodging and logistical support to families receiving proton radiation therapy at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).  The goal, is to reduce the stresses on the parents, so that they can focus on fighting the disease.

These days, that adorable Ella is a happy, healthy outgoing kindergartner, in school with my Owen.  And I'm happy to call Audrey a friend - she is an amazing woman. You can read Audrey's account of Ella's treatment and it's affects on their family here.

Ella with her big sister at our Memorial Day Parade party

If you are interested in making a donation to Ella's Retreat, you may click here.   

catch you soon -


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.