Ella MacPherson’s IWK journey began in April 2019 when she was just five months old. She had a small fall and broke her leg.
As a nurse, Ella’s mom Jennifer LeBlanc’s intuition told her something else might be wrong as infants almost never break their femurs. The following day, Ella was transported to the IWK where she was diagnosed with osteopetrosis – a rare condition affecting the formation of her bones. The only cure for Ella’s type of osteopetrosis is a bone marrow transplant, which poses an exceptional risk to a small child like Ella. Her IWK care team decided to let Ella go home and closely monitor her condition until such a time when they felt the benefits of a transplant would outweigh the risks.
Not long after, Ella presented with fluid in her brain, some eye issues and dropping blood counts. As Ella continued to undergo more tests, plans for her transplant quickly moved forward.
Within 14 weeks of breaking her leg, Ella received her transplant in Toronto that July after an aggressive course of chemotherapy. By October, the family was back at the IWK. After contracting a virus, a possibility both her family and care team were prepared for, she rebounded, was discharged, and arrived home in Cape Breton just in time for Halloween.
Today, Ella is doing really well and her bone marrow transplant was successful, but she continues to be monitored very closely by the IWK.