Ella's Story: Hope in Face of Transverse Myelitis

Ella's Story: courage and hope for the future

Children are born everyday with special needs, but not Ella. She was a typical happy, healthy baby when transverse myelitis surfaced. 

But it happened not over a period of weeks or months. There was no sign or symptom that could have alerted her mother, Jennifer Malini, to what was coming. The onset of transverse myelitis changed their lives forever — within a day Ella was rendered paralyzed from the neck down. 

The Effects of Transverse Myelitis

Transverse myelitis is a condition wherein the body attacks itself due to infection or immune system deficiency or disorder. It causes injury across the spinal cord affecting sensation below the injury. As a result, affected individuals can suffer pain and other sensory issues, bladder or bowel dysfunction, or — as in Ella’s case — paralysis.

Ella was just 9 months old the night her body began to rapidly weaken. Normally she was one of the happiest happiest babies you’d ever meet. Ella was healthy and robust and rarely cried. But not that night. She was inconsolable. By the time they reached the hospital Ella couldn’t grip her mother’s finger, and within 24 hours she was paralyzed from the neck down.

Here Jennifer shares her story of hope and optimism.