Eleven-year-old Ella Phillips

Eleven-year-old Ella Phillips

Young girl’s dream of becoming a princess to come true this week

Ella Phillips has been counting down the days until Nov. 20 rolls around.

Ella Phillips has been counting down the days until Nov. 20 rolls around.

The 11-year-old will be packing her bags, getting on a plane and heading to Disney World in Florida for a week with her mother, father and siblings as part of the Help Fill a Dream Foundation’s campaign at the end of the month.

“I thought that I would never be able to go,” said Ella, adding she hopes to spend some quality time with her family. “I’m really, really excited. I’m counting down the days.”

Watch: Ella Phillips, Tree Munoz and Aurora Beavil on Help Fill a Dream.

It’s a trip the youngster has been waiting for after years of pain. In December 2011, Ella’s world was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease shortly after that. In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Celiac disease affects the small intestine and results in the inability to absorb nutrients. Both are autoimmune disorders, which commonly go hand in hand.

It was a diagnosis that came as a shock to the family of eight, since Ella’s mother Terri was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes six months earlier.

“I was absolutely devastated. It was so shocking to me, because it was something that I was initially very concerned about,” said Terri, adding in the first few months Ella had anxiety attacks, afraid she would die. “It’s really unheard of, it really is a rare thing that I wasn’t prepared for it.”

It was a life-changing diagnosis that forced the family to adjust many aspects of their lives — initially everything took more time and there were many more doctors appointments. Both Ella and Terri have to be incredibly mindful of what they’re eating.

As a result, Ella wasn’t able to do the simple things, such as go to sleepovers with friends in fear her blood sugar would get too low and she would fall into a coma or have a stroke, among other things.

However, over the past six years Ella has learned how to keep the condition in check. She carries an insulin pump the size of a pager everywhere she goes — something her mother does as well.

It was Ella’s perseverance that moved the Help Fill a Dream Foundation, which helps fulfill the dreams of children under the age of 19 with life-threatening conditions on Vancouver Island, to make the young girl’s wish come true.

“She fits within our criteria of having a life-threatening condition . . .

she can go and become a princess,” said Craig Smith, executive director of the foundation. “Dreams are all over the place for kids. It’s whatever they think is going to make them happy.”

It was a trip, Terri said the entire family was shocked and excited to receive and will allow them to forget about Ella’s illness while visiting the happiest place on earth.

“(Ella’s) illness has always been something that has been a source of hurt and pain and suffering. For this to become something that is positive and enriching is such an amazing thing,” Terri said.

The foundation relies mostly on donations to help fulfill a variety of dreams for roughly 10 to 12 families around Vancouver Island annually.

Country Grocer in Esquimalt held a fundraiser for the foundation Tuesday. Over the past five years of the campaign, it has raised more than $600,000 for the foundation.

As for Ella, she’s looking forward to taking a whirl on Space Mountain.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police are seeking home surveillance video and witnesses following a prowling incident in Esquimalt Jan. 20. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt prowler removes air conditioner, peers into person’s home

VicPD is seeking video footage, witnesses following Jan. 20 incident

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
School bus driver laments motorists who pass while red lights are flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

A cyclist navigates the shoulder in traffic along Oak Bay Avenue in Victoria. (John Luton Photo)
Oak Bay council supports Fort Street bike lanes

Victoria bike lanes would connect to Cadboro Bay Road

The Victoria Fire Department extinguished a 15 foot tent fire in the 500-block of Ellice Street Jan. 19. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police investigating after 15-foot flames engulf tent

Flames damage nearby business in 500-block of Ellice Street

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

Most Read